Srinagar, Sep 20: In a move that could raise eyebrows, Jammu & Kashmir’s Law Commission is functioning even after completing its term.
The panel, which was mandated to recommend changes in state laws, is presently functioning from its office housed in Old Assembly complex here, even as its three-year term came to end on August 3, 2019. “The panel’s chairman and staff are attending the office in absence of any direction from the authorities,” sources disclosed to the Precious Kashmir.
On August 4, 2017 the Law department(vide order NO. 3379-LD(A) ) ordered creation of the Commission comprising of a chairman, two full-time members, two part-time members and secretary department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
The order governing establishment of the Commission clearly states that it would be for three years. “The term of the Commission shall be for a period of three years,” the order reads.
The Commission’s terms of reference include identification of redundant and obsolete state laws which can be repealed, identification of laws that require changes and amendments and make recommendations in this regard. It was also empowered to suggest measures for quick redress of public grievances in the field of law, and examine laws that affect the poor and carry out post-audit of socio-economic legislation.
However, the commission became functional after January 7, 2019 when former High Court Judge, Justice(retired)MK Hanjura was appointed as its chairman.
The order issued by government on January 7, 2019 mentions that Hanjura is appointed as chairperson of the commission established vide Government order No. 3378-LD(A) of 2017 dated 04-08-2017.
“The terms and conditions of the chairperson shall be governed by Government order N0. 3379 LD(A) of 2017 dated 04-08-2017,” it further states.
Asked how the Commission is functioning when its 3-year term is over, Jutsice(retd) M K Hanjura said: “Let us see what government will decide on the matter.”
Sources disclosed that the matter is likely to come up before the administrative council headed by LG Manoj Sinha. “The AC will decide whether to disband or continue the commission,” an official disclosed.
It is worthwhile to mention that unlike other commissions and rights bodies, J&K Law Commission survived post re-organisation of J&K .
As many as nine commissions were abolished on October 31, 2019 as laws governing them were abolished by the Parliament when it approved J&K Re-Organisation Act.