November 2019 News

Thousands Of Cases Pending With Seven Statutory Bodies Likely To Face Abatement

7 November 2019
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Thousands of cases pending with various statutory bodies of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir are likely to face abatement as J&K Reorganization Act whereby two Union Territories have been constituted and J&K Reorganization (Removal of Difficulties) Order are completely silent on their validity. Due to this, the applicants will have to file all these cases afresh, if they desire so, under the new mechanism. On October 23, 2019, the General Administration Department issued different orders mentioning that consequent upon the repeal of several State Acts by the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, sanction has been accorded to the winding up of seven State Commissions with effect from October 31, 2019-the appointed date for the formation of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. Through these Government orders, the Secretaries of seven Commissions were directed to transfer all records pertaining to their respective statutory bodies to the concerned Administrative Departments. However, there was no official word about the fate of nearly 4000 cases pending in State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Human Rights Commission, State Information Commission, State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights, State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, State Accountability Commission and State Electricity Regulatory Commission mainly because there was no clarity in J&K Reorganization Act on this important aspect. Even J&K Reorganisation (Removal of Difficulties) Order issued on October 30, 2019 by the President of India has not given any clarity on any aspect relating to the cases pending with the statutory bodies, which have faced closure due to repeal of State Acts whereby these were established. 'Any authority constituted under any law in the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir immediately in force before the appointed day shall be deemed to have been constituted under the corresponding provisions of the Central Laws applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh until a new authority is constituted under the law applicable to these UTs, as the case may be, and any proceeding initiated or action taken by such authority, shall for all purposes be deemed to be valid and operative', reads Paragraph 17 of the J&K Reorganisation (Removal of Difficulties) Order. 'The provisions of State Laws whereby seven Commissions were constituted were not in consonance with the corresponding provisions of the Central Laws presently applicable to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as such these seven statutory bodies cannot be considered to have been constituted as defined in the Paragraphs 17 of the Presidential Order', said legal experts. They further said, 'the eligibility criteria, selection procedure, selection committee and functions of most of these closed seven State Commissions were different from the provisions of the Central Laws extended to the UTs of J&K and Ladakh with effect from October 31, 2019'. 'In the absence of clarity in J&K Reorganization Act and J&K Reorganisation (Removal of Difficulties) Order all the cases pending in the statutory bodies of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir are likely to face abatement', they said, adding 'the applicants, if they desire, will have to file cases afresh under the new mechanism'. As per the information gathered by EXCELSIOR, maximum 2500 cases were pending for disposal in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission as on October 23 when the order about its winding up was issued. Not only in this Commission large number of cases were also pending for disposal in the Jammu and Kashmir District Consumer Forums, which were also constituted under Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, which presently stands repealed. Similarly, about 600 cases were pending for disposal in State Human Rights Commission while as a total of 233 Second Appeals and 131 complaints under the Jammu and Kashmir Right to Information Act were pending for disposal in the State Information Commission at the time of issuance of orders about its closure. Likewise, around 200 cases of varied nature were pending in the State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights and large number of cases in State Commission for Persons with Disabilities and some in the State Accountability Commission.

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