Centre Should Revisit Domicile Law


The government of India on  April 1  promulgated a new domicile law for J&K which defines the residents of the union territory as well as eligibility of acquiring  citizenship within the union territory. The persons who fulfill the eligibility criteria become the residents of the territory. The law formulated doesn’t bring within its ambit the land rights of the residents, while speaks about only citizenship, who become naturally eligible for acquiring jobs within the territory.

According to domicile law those persons who have resided within the union territory for almost 15 years can claim for domicile. The children of people who have stayed in the J&K union territory for almost 7 years and have appeared in class 11 and class12  examination are also deemed to be the subjects of the union territory. Also children of central government employees who have served the union territory for almost 10 years are also considered to be the residents of  union territory. Besides children of all such people who fulfill such criteria are also deemed to be the subjects of the territory and those children who have been outside the union territory of J&K  either for one reason or another can also claim for domicile provided their parents fulfill the criteria of citizenship of the union territory. In Domicile law migrants are also classified to be the residents of union territory. All such persons can claim for the domicile of union territory. The designated official for issuing the domicile certificate is Tehsildar, In case the person is denied by Tehsildar he can file an appeal before District commissioner  but within 30 days .The Domicile Law framed is directly linked with jobs for persons who acquire domicile status. Such persons are eligible and can compete for all gazetted as well as non gazetted posts whenever advertised by PSC and SSRB .Whereas the LEVEL4 jobs have been reserved for persons already residing within the erstwhile state of J&K. The level 4th jobs include  gatekeeper, gardener, cleric etc.

In other words people of outside union territory can apply for gazetted and non gazetted posts, thus encroaching the jobs solely meant for the actual residents of the union territory .The domicile law therefore can be called as the law of acquiring jobs, because any one else who acquires the citizenship of the union territory apart from people of  the erstwhile state of J&K can compete  for the jobs. The law coincides with the British philosophy of teaching English language to the Indians  during  pre-independence era, so that they can help them in clerical assignments only.

The domicile law is ambiguous in nature and is full of drawbacks, like when a person fulfills the domicile eligibility and can compete for gazetted and non gazetted jobs, why on earth he is not eligible for level 4th grades. This itself violates the fundamental right of right to equality. The  restriction on class 4th jobs for outsider is itself contradiction of the domicile law, displaying aberration and complexities of  the law.The law doesnot cover the legal land rights of the domicile persons and thus appears incomplete in itself. The law is framed for only neutralizing the gazetted and non gazetted jobs by paving way for outsiders, This will have  bad implications for the people of union territory, where there is already  surge in unemployment. More over the territory of J&K has been in turmoil since decades. Besides COVID 19 has brought everything to a standstill especially in  J&K, which has been under lockdown post abrogation of Article 370. The educational sector has also suffered tremendously during the persistent unrest in the valley, while the rest  of India was working normal. The center needs to revisit the domicile  law, in order to bring the solace to the trouble torn union territory.

Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat

[email protected]

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