Jammu & Kashmir has now ceased to be a state, making way for two new Union territories (UTs) of J&K and Ladakh. Also, President’s rule in the former state has been revoked since Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, under which President’s rule is imposed in a State, is not applicable in Union Territories.
This development concludes the process which started in August with the landmark announcement for abolition of Article 370 as well as end of statehood for J&K. This has also put to an end to J&K’s flag and constitution which were symbols of the state’s special status.
As per the J&K Reorganisation Act, the UT of J&K will have a legislature, like Puducherry, while Ladakh will be a UT without legislature, like Chandigarh, and both the UTs will be headed by two separate Lieutenant Governors.
The new Lieutenant Governors of the two UTs: G C Murmu in J&K and R K Mathur in Ladakh, will be sworn in at separate ceremonies in Srinagar and Leh, respectively.
The creation of the UTs of J&K and Ladakh coincides with the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, credited with the merger of over 560 states with the Indian Union.
This is the first time that a state is being bifurcated into two UTs. There have been instances in the past of a UT becoming a full state or a state being reorganised into two states.
The Centre will now be in direct control of police and law & order in J&K while land will be under the elected government. The UT of Ladakh will be under the direct control of the central government through the Lieutenant Governor.
This development is taking place over 70 years after the then ruler of the princely state of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh, executed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, making it part of the Union of India.