With a view to simplifying the issuance of ‘Resident of Backward Area” certificates in favor of the persons belonging to an identified backward area or an area near the Line of Actual Control/International Border including persons hailing from Kashmir division who have migrated outside the division/state for security reasons, the Social Welfare Department on Monday issued a notification vide SRO-321 dated 27.05.2019 amending the clause (iii) of Rule 21 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules, 2005.
It is noteworthy to point out that the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules 1994 issued vide SRO-126 of 1994, inter-alia, provided for the issuance of “Resident of Backward Area” (RBA) certificates in favor of Kashmiri Migrants. These rules were replaced by the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules, 2005 notified vide SRO 294 of 2005 dated 21.10.2005. However, in the said rules, a reference to Kashmiri Migrants was not made seemingly on the premise that migration was a transitory event. However, this led to ambiguity and hence avoidable difficulties to the Kashmiri Migrants in securing RBA certificates as well as their renewal.
The representatives of the Kashmiri Pandits approached different quarters for issuing necessary clarifications to enable them to obtain RBA certificates and also have their RBA certificates already issued/renewed without any encumbrances. The representatives repeatedly approached the Government at various levels for early redressal of their grievance. The non-issuance/renewal of RBA certificate was proving to be an impediment for them in applying to various posts earmarked for RBA categories under the Government.
The matter remained under active examination of the Government in the Social Welfare Department. The Government after due consideration amended Rule 21 of the Jammu & Kashmir Reservation Rules-2005. In this regard, SRO 321 was issued by the Social Welfare Department on 27.05.2019.
While the said SRO has reiterated that for availing the benefit of reservation of Backward Area/ area near the Line of Actual Control/International Border, a person must establish that he/she has resided in the said area for a period of not less than 15 years prior to the date of application and is actually residing in the said area, it has also clarified that a person shall not be disentitled from claiming this benefit, only on the ground that his/her father or the person on whom, he/she is dependent is living in a place which is not identified as backward or area near the Line of Actual Control or International Border on account of his employment, business, other professional or vocational reasons or migration from one place to another place within the respective Division due to the security reasons. It further clarifies that a person who has migrated from Kashmir Division for security reasons will not be disentitled from claiming this benefit even if he/she has migrated outside the Division/State, subject to the condition that he/she should have been registered as a migrant with the office of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) Jammu.
It may be reiterated that the objective of the above amendment is not to deprive any class of its admissible right of reservation but only to remove the hardships as were faced by the candidates in obtaining these certificates.
The amendment made in the rules of the reservation shall benefit a large number of Kashmiri migrants who had hitherto been facing difficulties in availing of reservation benefits on account of their migration to other divisions/states on security grounds.
Pertinent to mention that for the first time after effecting amendment in the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004, the benefit of reservation has been extended to the persons belonging to an area near International Border.