The J&K government on Wednesday rolled out the process to issue domicile certificates to the spouses of erstwhile State subjects who have a domicile certificate, which will allow husbands of women married outside to acquire the documents for the first time.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India read with Section of the J&K Civil Service (Decentralisation and recruitment) Act, 2010, the government hereby grants domicile certificates to a spouse of a domicile,” a government order, dated July 20, 2021, reads. The order has been issued by the commissioner secretary to the government Manoj Kumar Dwivedi.
“The order will give domicile rights to husbands of women who have married outside J&K,” says official pleading anonymity. He says the spouses of these women were facing a lot of difficulties to get domicile certificates and that forced the government to come up with an order.
“Now a person can get a domicile certificate after showing it to concerned authorities that he is the spouse of a domicile certificate holder,” the official said.
National Conference spokesperson, Ifra Jan says the order is an admission of the fact that woman who married outside will not have to give up their domicile “as was spread by BJP propaganda machinery.” “It was the husband who didn't get it, and it made no change to the women's status. Truth has a strange way of coming out.”
Experts suggest that the government is widening the sweep of domicile by this order. “Let us assume non-state subject served here for a specific period will get a domicile certificate. Now his spouse who may or may not has resided in J&K will also get a domicile certificate. Down the line his parents will also get it and so forth,” says a senior NC leader.
The BJP president Ravinder Raina welcomed a grant of domicile status to husbands of J&K women married outside. Raina said families of women marrying outside have been made eligible for domicile status. “This marks another milestone post-August 5, 2019 in J&K history,” he added.
On March 31, 2020, eight months after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, the government amid Covid-19 pandemic lockdown notified a law through an executive order defining domicile of Jammu and Kashmir and eligibility for employment in government jobs.
Under the law, domicile is given to those who have resided for 15 years in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or have studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10th, 12th examination in an educational institution located in J&K. The government has made it mandatory for every citizen of the erstwhile state of J&K to secure a domicile certificate even though they possess a state subject certificate.
Article 35A would empower the government of J&K to define a class of persons as constituting “permanent residents” of the erstwhile State, who would be given state subjects.