A year after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, the central government amends land laws in the state. Now, people from outside the state can buy land in Jammu and Kashmir. With the passage of the new law, people as well as investors outside Jammu and Kashmir can now purchase land in the Union Territory (UT). This marks the end of exclusive rights of locals over the land granted under now abrogated Article 370.
As per the new legislation, the J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criteria has been “omitted”, creating a path for investors outside of the state to invest in the UT.
The Centre has said that due to Article 370 the growth and economic development of the UT had been badly hampered as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.
This is going to be followed by another set of land laws for the UT of Ladakh.
“We want that like other parts of India, industries should be set up in J&K. My government is committed to peace, progress and prosperity”, said Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
Under the ‘transfer of land for the purpose of promotion of healthcare or education’, the government may now allow transfer of land “in favour of a person or an institution for the purpose of promotion of healthcare or senior secondary or higher or specialized education in J&K”.
The new law states: “No land used for agriculture purposes shall be used for any non-agricultural purposes except with the permission of the district collector.” The Restriction on Conversion of Agricultural Land and Process for Permission of Non-Agriculture clause, however, puts conditions on the use of agricultural land.
Now, as per the new provision, an Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces. The introduction of the UT of J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020 by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has resulted in the repeal of at least 11 land laws in vogue in J&K earlier, including the J&K Big Landed Estates Abolition Act that had resulted in famous ‘Land to tiller’ rights.
However, this move has been opposed by the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).