NEW DELHI: The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a Lieutenant Governor and the maximum strength of its assembly will be of 107 seats which will be increased to 114 later, according to the bill introduced in parliament on Monday dramatically altering the status of India’s northern-most state.
The current effective strength of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is 87, including four seats from the Ladakh region, which will now be a separate union territory without a legislature. Twenty-four seats of the assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“…the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114, and delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission in the manner hereinafter provided,” according to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, introduced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha on Monday.
The union territory of Ladakh will have Kargil and Leh districts, it said.
There shall be a council of ministers in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the bill said, consisting of not more than 10 per cent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head “to aid and advise” the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws.
It said that the new union territory will have reservation in the assembly seats.
“The number of seats to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly, having regard to the relevant provisions of the Constitution…,” it said.
The bill said that the Lieutenant Governor of union territory of Jammu and Kashmir may nominate two members to the legislative assembly to give representation to women, if in his opinion, women are “not adequately” represented in the assembly.
It also said that the Lok Sabha will have five seats from the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, while Ladakh will have one seat.
“On and from the appointed day, there shall be allocated five seats to the successor UT of J-K and one seat to UT of Ladakh, in the House of the People, and the First Schedule to the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (43 of 1950) shall be deemed to be amended accordingly,” it said.