Floodgates now open for anyone to buy plots in J&K as Centre amends Land Revenue Act

Agricultural land will be an exception to the law as it can only be transferred or sold to an agriculturist in J&K.

Published: 28th October 2020 01:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2020 08:40 AM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir

Representational Image. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: in a move that can have long-term political and economic implications for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Tuesday notified several laws, including major amendments to the Jammu and Kashmir Land Revenue Act to allow any Indian citizen to buy land in the Union Territory. 

Agricultural land will be an exception to the law as it can only be transferred or sold to an agriculturist in J&K. However, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs can authorise an agriculturist to ‘alienate’ the land to a non-agriculturist for sale, gift or exchange. 

The new amendment implies domiciles of J&K would now effectively get protection only in government jobs. The Union government had earlier hinted that some protection on land-rights on the lines of Himachal Pradesh will be granted to domiciles of J&K. 

Before the reading down of Article 370 and Article 35-A last year, non-residents could not buy any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. But the new order titled the ‘Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020’ changed this status. 

ALSO READ | Amended land laws smack of BJP's cheap politics, deceit: Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah

The order issued by the Union home ministry evoked sharp reactions from J&K political parties, ranging from ‘unacceptable’ to ‘betrayal’. 

Several regional parties, under the umbrella of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, vowed to fight “on all fronts” against it. 

The MHA has also amended the domicile law declaring the “spouse of a domicile shall also be deemed to be a domicile”.  

This earlier pertained to children of central government officials posted in J&K for 10 years who are also eligible as domiciles. 

J&K parties cry ‘betrayal’ over land law amendments

The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration PAGD termed the MHA order as a “huge betrayal”. In a statement, senior leader and spokesperson of PAGD, Sajad Gani Lone, described the development as a “massive assault on the rights of people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladak hand grossly unconstitutional.”

Calling the MHA order as yet another “brazen violation” of principal of constitutional proprietary of fundamental importance to a constitutional democracy, Sajad Lone said, “It is clearly an attempt to preempt the outcome of challenge of Article 370 revocation before the Supreme Court.” National Conference vice president and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said the amendments to the land ownership law has put J&K “up for sale”.

“With these new laws in place tokenism of domicile certificate has been done away with as purchasing non-agricultural land has been made easier,” he said, adding, “These new laws are unacceptable to people of J&K, Ladakh.” Abdullah said the Centre had waited till LAHDC elections had concluded and BJP won a majority before introducing the ammendment.

“This is what Ladakhis got for trusting BJP’s assurances,” he commented. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “After failing on all fronts to provide roti and rozgar to people, BJP is creating such laws to whet the appetite of a gullible electorate. Such brazen measures reinforce the need of people of all three provinces of J&K to fight unitedly (sic).” The Centre said the “permanent resident of the state” clause has been omitted.

Agriculture land

Agricultural land will be reserved for farmers and it can only be sold another agriculturist. However, the land can be transferred for non-agriculture purposes with the Centre’s permission.


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