Tarigami Challenges New Land Laws Before SC

Srinagar– Communist Party of India (M) senior leader and People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) spokesperson MY Tarigami has challenged the new land laws implemented in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court of India.

In the petition, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, Tarigami’s counsel submitted that the Presidential Order CO 272 dated 05.08.2019, Declaration CO 273 dated 06.08.2019 and Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 passed by the Parliament on 05.08.2019 are unconstitutional and violative of ‘petitioner’s’ fundamental rights under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Tarigami submitted that Section 96 of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 passed pursuant to the Presidential Order CO 272 dated 05.08.2019, Declaration CO 273 dated 06.08.2019 empowered the Central Government to adapt and modify any law by way of repeal or amendment before the expiration of one year from the appointed day of the Union Territory of J&K, which is 31.10.2019.

It further submitted that exercising the powers under Section 96 of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued notification viz. “Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws), whereby several amendments to various laws applicable in Jammu and Kashmir were carried out.

Before abrogation of Article-370, land rights in Jammu & Kashmir were protected and guaranteed under the special constitutional provisions. However the government undertook several changes in the land laws. Now agriculture land can be used for non-agriculture purposes and private land can be used for industrial purposes. The fresh amendment in the J&K Land Revenue Act 1939 (Samvat 1996) was made recently by the Union Territory Administration of Jammu & Kashmir.

The petition apprised the court that in the ‘Instrument of Accession’ that only the Central Government will have powers only on the matters specified in the schedule therein which were broadly as follows:

Defense, External Affairs, Communications and Ancillary.

“Therefore, the matters relating to land use, transfer thereof and the broader matters relating to revenue etc were well within the powers of the state till Presidential Orders dated 05.08.2019 and the passing of the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization of State) Act, 2019,” the petition reads.

The petition further submitted that orders issued in pursuance to the powers accorded to the Central Government under Section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 as the said statute itself is unconstitutional, void, unsustainable and therefore liable to be struck down for the reasons mentioned in the accompanying writ petition.

It further adds that “Owing to the special historical circumstances, Jammu and Kashmir had several constitutional provisions to safeguard the distinctive rights and identity of the region’s permanent and local residents. Some of the major land laws that established rights of peasantry and preserved land in the hands of permanent residents were:

Jammu and Kashmir Alienation of Land Act, 1938,

Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, 1950,

Jammu and Kashmir Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1956,

Jammu and Kashmir Land Grants Act, 1960, and

Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976.

The petition submitted that SC must issue a writ of certiorari or any appropriate writ or order(s) declaring Presidential Order GSR 551(E) (CO 272) and Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019 unconstitutional, void, and inoperative.

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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