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Pursuant to its earlier announcement of applying Central laws to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, the Government of India has notified the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Order, 2020.
In exercise of its powers under Section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 to make adaptations and modifications to facilitate the implementation of any law applicable to India, the Centre has made 37 laws applicable to the newly carved out Union Territory.
The order recently notified in the Official Gazette states,
“With immediate effect, the Acts mentioned in the Schedule to this Order shall, until repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, have effect, subject to the adaptations and modifications directed by the Schedule to this Order, or if it is so directed, shall stand repealed.”
The following are the 37 Central statutes that will now be applicable to Jammu & Kashmir:
ADVOCATES ACT, 1961
ALL INDIA SERVICES ACT, 1951
ANCIENT MONUMENTS AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND REMAINS ACT, 1958
THE ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT, 1996
THE CENSUS ACT, 1948
THE CENTRAL GOODS AND SERVICES TAX ACT, 2017
THE CINEMATOGRAPH ACT, 1952
THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908
THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, 1973
THE COLLECTION OF STATISTICS ACT, 2008
THE COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY ACT, 1952
THE COURT-FEES ACT, 1870
THE DENTISTS ACT, 1948
THE FAMILY COURTS ACT, 1984
THE GOVERNMENT SECURITIES ACT, 2006
THE HIGH COURT JUDGES (SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICES) ACT, 1954
THE HOMEOPATHY CENTRAL COUNCIL ACT, 1973
THE IMMORAL TRAFFIC (PREVENTION) ACT, 1956
THE INCOME-TAX ACT, 1961
THE INDIAN FOREST ACT, 1927
THE INDIAN MEDICINE CENTRAL COUNCIL ACT, 1970
THE INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860
THE INSOLVENCY AND BANKRUPTCY CODE, 2016
THE LIMITATION ACT, 1963
THE NATIONAL CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ACT, 1962
THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT, 1963
THE PRESS AND REGISTRATION OF BOOKS ACT, 1867
THE PRESS COUNCIL ACT, 1978
THE PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT, 1988
THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, 1993
THE PUBLIC DEBT ACT, 1944
THE RAILWAY PROPERTY (UNLAWFUL POSSESSION) ACT, 1966
THE REAL ESTATE (REGULATION AND DEVELOPMENT) ACT, 2016
THE REPRESENTATION OF PEOPLE ACT, 1950
THE RIGHT TO FAIR COMPENSATION AND TRANSPARENCY IN LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT ACT, 2013
THE SECURITISATION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF FINANCIAL ASSETS AND ENFORCEMENT OF SECURITY INTEREST ACT, 2002
THE TEXTILES COMMITTEE ACT, 1963
Interestingly, the 2020 order calls for the modified implementation of some of these laws to Jammu & Kashmir.
For instance, the application of the Arbitration Act calls for the insertion of two new provisions that do no exist in the Arbitration Act applicable to the rest of the country.
One of these, Section 8A, provides that a court may refer petitions related to Section 9 (interim measures) and Section 11 (appointment of arbitrators) for mediation or conciliation. The same may be done with the consent of the parties, if there exists “elements of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties”.
A mediated settlement arrived at by the parties shall have the same status and effect as an arbitral award and may be enforced as per Section 36 of the Act. It further provides,
“With respect to reference of a dispute to conciliation, the provisions of Part II of this Act shall apply as if the conciliation proceedings were initiated by the parties under the relevant provision of this Act.”
Similarly, the new Section 8B grants courts the same power with regard to applications to set aside arbitral awards and appeals against arbitral awards under Sections 34 and 37 of the Arbitration Act respectively.
The order also envisions a change to a sub-section (3) of Section 34, which states that an application for setting aside awards may not be made after three months have elapsed from the date on which the party making the application had received the arbitral award. This period is changed to six months.
The proviso to this sub-section states that if the Court is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application within the said period of three months, it may entertain the application within a further period of thirty days. This buffer period has sought to be increased to sixty days.
Modifications have also been made to the way the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) will apply to Jammu & Kashmir.
For the CrPC, the manner of appointment of Public Prosecutors representing the Union Territory before the High Court and the district courts is sought to be changed.
In this regard, the new Section 24 (6A) proposes that “it shall not be necessary to appoint Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor for the High Court in consultation with High Court and Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor for the District Court from amongst the person constituting the cadre of Prosecution for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.”
A new Section 25A proposes the setting up of a Directorate of Prosecution, the working of which shall be determined by rules later.
Consequent upon the passing of the order, the erstwhile Ranbir Penal Code will cease to operate in the valley. All provisions of the Indian Penal Code will now apply, with the addition of a new offence, that of Sextortion. The new Section 354E proposes:
The offence of Sextortion, which does not exist in the IPC, was added to the Ranbir Penal Code back in 2018. This, after the Jammu & Kashmir High Court had urged the state government to introduce an amendment to bring in the new offence.
[Read the Order]