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Centre notifies new laws allowing any Indian citizen to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh

Centre notifies new laws allowing any Indian citizen to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh
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Srinagar: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday notified new land laws for the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and omitted any precondition on the purchase of land in Jammu and Kashmir, as existed under Article 370 for the outsiders.

Before the repeal of Article 370 and Article 35-A in August last year, non-residents could not buy any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the fresh changes have paved the way for non-residents to buy land in the union territory, sparking fears among locals that this will dilute Jammu and Kashmir’s demography.

The MHA in its release stated that the order will be called the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020. It added that it will come into effect immediately.

The Centre also notified that the “permanent resident of the state” clause has been omitted now.

Under this, 12 state laws have been repealed and 26 others have been adapted with changes or substitutes, according to news agency ANI. Those completely repealed include the Jammu and Kashmir Alienation of Land Act, 1995, the Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1956, and the Jammu and Kashmir Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1962.

The notification issued by MHA also says that the government can now, on the written request of an army officer not below the rank of Corp Commander, declare an area as Strategic Area within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of armed forces, which may be excluded from the operation of this Act and rules and regulations made thereunder in the manner and to the extent.

The government also can allow the transfer of land in favour of a person or an institution for the purpose of promotion of healthcare or senior secondary or higher or specialised education after the new notification.

Former Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri said the amendments have opened floodgates for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy lands. “Now there is no legal bar on purchase of land here by outsiders,” he said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticised the amendments on Tuesday, saying “J&K is now up for sale and the poorer small landholding owners will suffer.”

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha soon after the notification came out and clarified that the new land laws being introduced in the Union Territory will not impact agricultural land.

“I want to say this forcefully and with full responsibility that agricultural land has been kept reserved for farmers; no outsider will come on those lands. The industrial areas that we have defined, we want that like rest of the country, here too industries come so that Jammu & Kashmir also develops and employment is generated,” the L-G said.

However, there are several exemptions in the Act which enable the transfer of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, including setting up educational or health care facilities, reports PTI

MHA officials told News18 that post this notification, a domicile certificate will not be needed to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir. “Non-agricultural land in municipal areas of Jammu and Kashmir can now be bought by anyone. There is no domicile requirement after this notification,” a government official told the channel. (FirstPost)

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