Parliament’s winter session begins tomorrow | J&K ST, SC amendment bills among 19 bills likely to be taken up

File/ ANI

Jammu, Dec 2: Five very crucial bills, specifically pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, aimed at expanding and restructuring its reservation laws and representation in its ‘prospective 90-member Legislative Assembly’, are very likely to be taken up during the winter session of Parliament, beginning on December 4.

Out of these five Bills, four are likely to be taken up for passage in the Lok Sabha, where they were introduced in July during the Monsoon session. However, one fresh Bill, providing for extension of Women’s Reservation Law, has been listed for introduction, consideration and passage in the ensuing session.

   

All these five bills figured in the list of 19 Bills, circulated by the Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, which are “likely to be taken up during the 14th session of 17th Lok Sabha and 262nd session of
Rajya Sabha” under head “Legislative Business.”

Besides, two bills under “Financial Business” (pertaining to Supplementary Demands for Grants for 2023-24 and Demands for Excess Grants for 2020-21 and related Appropriation Bills), too formed the list of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

However, the Bills, having a potential to impact J&K, its politics and the social set-up, figured under “Legislative Business.” They included “The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023”; “The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023”; “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023”; “The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023” and “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.”

Though all these five Bills, when passed, will have their specific fallouts yet two bills, in particular, will have wider ramifications. In fact, one related to widening expanse of “Scheduled Tribe (ST)” category in J&K has already evoked a volatile reaction among the Gujjar-Bakarwals- the major ST category beneficiary at present. Feeling threatened, they are opposing tooth and nail the Bill proposing “ST” status to “Pahari Ethnic Group.” The Bill, though, also proposes to grant ST status to “Gadda Brahmin”, “Koli” and “Paddari Tribe.”

Second Bill, which is, for sure, likely to create trepidation among the political parties, mainly the mainstream regional parties, pertains to the extension of women’s reservation law to J&K.
This Bill is yet to be introduced in the Parliament, in respect of J&K and Puducherry. This was also stated by the Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, while speaking to the media after an all-party meet convened by the central government ahead of the session.

BILL TO EXTEND WOMEN RESERVATION LAW TO J&K TO BE INTRODUCED

According to Meghwal as there was no provision as yet to extend the provisions of Women’s Reservation Law (earlier passed by the Parliament during its special session in September) in the Union Territories of J&K and Puducherry, this necessitated the introduction of separate Bill (The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 in case of J&K), for introduction, consideration and passage.

This Bill seeks to insert provisions for 33 percent reservation (around 30 seats) to women in (prospective 90-member) J&K Legislative Assembly. The women reservation provisions, however, will come into effect
from 2029, across the country. This will be inclusive of reservation for SC and ST women. Through another bill (already introduced in Lok Sabha), seven and nine seats have been reserved for SC and ST categories in J&K Assembly respectively.

Women reservation, as and when implemented, will find reflection in five Lok Sabha seats of J&K as well.

FOUR ALREADY INTRODUCED BILLS LIKELY TO BE TAKEN UP FOR PASSAGE

Out of rest of four bills, which were introduced in Lok Sabha in the Monsoon session in July this year but could not be taken up for passage, “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023” and “The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023” are creating tremors in the UT, politically as well as socially.

Reason is the apprehensions in the minds of Gujjars-Bakerwals, who fear that they will have to share their reservation benefits in the admissions, jobs and now in the political sphere as well with the new beneficiaries (read Pahari ethnic group). This concern is still lurking in the minds of community members, notwithstanding the commitment, by none other than the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah that there would be no dilution in their (Gujjar-Bakerwals’) existing 10 percent reservation and hence their apprehension is misplaced.
Even the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has reassured the community members on this account while cautioning them that they should not allow themselves to get carried away or provoked by the “political propaganda of vested interests.”

Despite these assurances, the community has announced to hold a “Mahapanchayat” to deliberate on this issue tomorrow i.e., December 3, in Jammu.

Meanwhile, the BJP (being the ruling dispensation) too brought its stalwarts from Gujjar-Bakerwal community, led by its Rajya Sabha MP Engineer Gulam Ali Khatana, to the fore today to reiterate the commitment of the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to allay the “misplaced apprehensions” yet again.

Issue, so far, lingers on and will continue to be so, in the wake of the ensuing electoral season. No wonder, the political adversaries of BJP are all out to gain mileage out of it. BJP’s senior leadership knows it very well and hence is making all out efforts to soothe frayed nerves and address the misgivings of the disenchanted community (Gujjar-Bakerwals).

REPRESENTATION TO KASHMIRI MIGRANTS, DPS FROM POJK & STS IN J&K LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

“The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023” proposes amendment in the “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019)” to provide representation to “Kashmiri Migrants”, “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir so as to preserve their political rights as well as for their overall social and economic development.

It provides to insert new sections 15A and 15B in the Act so as to “nominate not more than two members, one of whom shall be a woman, from the community of “Kashmiri migrants” and one Member from “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, to the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and (ii) amendments to sub-sections (3) and (10) of section 14 of the Act which are of consequential in view of completion of delimitation process in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
On completion of the delimitation process, the Delimitation Commission had published orders with regard to the delimitation of the Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and
Kashmir.

As per these orders, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been increased from 107 to 114 with reservation of nine seats for Scheduled Tribes for the first time.

PAHARI ETHNIC GROUP. KOLI, PADDARI, GADDA BRAHMINS TO GET ST STATUS

“The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023” proposes to amend the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989, to include the communities of “Gadda Brahmin”, “Koli”, “Paddari Tribe” and “Pahari Ethnic Group” in the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Following passage of Bill, the list of STs in J&K will include Bakarwal; Balti; Beda; Bot, Boto; Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin; Changpa; Gadda Brahmin; Gaddi; Garra; Gujjar; Koli; Mon; Paddari Tribe; Pahari Ethnic Group; Purigpa and Sippi.

VALMIKIS TO BE INCLUDED IN LIST OF SCHEDULED CASTES OF J&K

“The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023” proposes to include Valmiki (in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir only) along with Chura, Bhangi, Balmiki, Mehtar” in
the Schedule to the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order, 1956.

OTHER SOCIAL CASTES (OSC) TO BE REPLACED WITH OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES (OBC)

“The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023” proposes to amend section 2 of the Reservation Act by the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 so as to change the nomenclature of
“Weak and under privileged classes (social castes)” occurring in sub-clause (iii) of clause (o), to “Other Backward Classes” and to make consequential amendment in clause (q), of section 2 of the said Act.
These amendments have been proposed on the recommendations of the Jammu and Kashmir Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBCC), so as to remove the confusion amongst the general public as well as the competent authorities issuing certificates to eligible persons due to difference in such nomenclature.
Presently, in J&K, OSCs get 4 percent reservation in J&K but there is no provision of reservation for OBCs, who get 27 percent reservation at the national level.

OTHER BILLS TO BE TAKEN UP BY PARLIAMENT

Besides J&K specific Bills, the Parliament is also likely to take up “The Repealing and Amending Bill, 2023, as passed by Lok Sabha”; “The Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2023, as passed by Rajya Sabha”; “The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, as passed by Rajya Sabha”; “The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023”; “The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023”; “The Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023”; “The Post Office Bill, 2023”; “The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023”; “The Boilers Bill, 2023”; “The Provisional Collection of Taxes Bill, 2023”; “The Central Goods and Services Tax (Second Amendment) Bill 2023”; “The National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2023” and “The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023” during the winter session. The session will conclude on December 22.

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