[Editorial Analysis] Letter and spirit: On new domicile rules in Jammu and Kashmir

Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Domicile rule in Jammu and Kashmir
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation


• New domicile rules were formulated post the termination of the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir, which was reorganised into two Union Territories.

• New domicile rules have brought succour and hope for a segment of its population that had to contend with fragmented citizenship rights for long.

Benefit to groups:

• This group, of two to three lakh people, is made up of refugees from Pakistan, sanitary workers resettled from other parts of India and Gorkhas who arrived as soldiers before Independence.

• The erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir gained special powers to define its ‘permanent residents’ and restrict land, educational and employment rights only to them.

• This cohort was not classified as permanent residents, leading to a denial of opportunities to them in education, employment and politics — a situation not merely unjust but also untenable.

• Subsequent to changes to Articles 370 and 35A in August 2019, in March 2020, the concept of “permanent resident of the State” was discontinued in Jammu and Kashmir.

New rules:

• As per the new domicile rules, those persons and their children who have resided for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir, or have studied for seven years and appeared in the Class X or XII exam in an educational institution in the UT, are eligible for grant of domicile.

• Besides mitigating the historical deprivation of one segment, the changes will enable many others currently living in Jammu and Kashmir to get domicile and associated rights.

Few concerns:
• Not everyone is rejoicing, though.

• There are concerns that the changes in domicile rules will lead to a huge influx into the region.

• Few sections interpret that a deliberate scheme to change the demographic character of the region is unfolding.

• The National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party, both Valley-based parties, have reiterated their opposition to the changes.

• In the Jammu region also, there are concerns that there could be dispossession of land and a shrinking of economic opportunities for local people.

Benefits of openness:

• Movement of people across political and natural borders has been a constant feature of progress.

• Arguments over who are the original inhabitants of a place serve little purpose other than to accentuate political polarisation.

• Economic growth and vitality of a society often positively correlate with its openness towards the outside world.

• Communities that are not equipped to negotiate with unfamiliar market and cultural forces need some insulation.

• It is arguable that with relatively high rates of literacy, education and material standards, Jammu and Kashmir is not susceptible to any demographic or economic takeover by immigrants.

• Movement into the region will be largely driven by economic reasons.


• A state-driven reengineering of the demography of any place is not desirable or democratic, but the fear of such a scenario is no good reason to retreat into a cocoon of nativism.

• Opposition to the new domicile rules in Jammu and Kashmir is rooted in old fears and new suspicions.


Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Macaws, consider the following statements:

1. Macaws are native to India.

2. The glaucous macaw and Spix’s macaw may already be extinct in the wild.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What is the new domicile rule in Jammu and Kashmir? What are the impacts of new domicile rules?

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