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Changing State Laws: NC accuses Gov Admin of attacking state institutions

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Srinagar: The National Conference Thursday accused Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration of being on a “mission” to change state laws which are the domain of a democratically elected government.

“We are dismayed over the relentless attacks on the autonomous institutions in the state,” NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said in a statement issued here today.

Sagar alleged that the governor administration has “embarked on a mission” to change the existing state laws which should have been the exclusive domain of a democratically elected government.

“Legally speaking, state governor has the power to change state laws but he has no popular mandate to make far reaching changes in our institutions. The recent SAC decision approving the amendments in JK Municipal Act is a case in point where unlike earlier elections to the post of mayor will be done through a secret ballot,” he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has amended Municipal Laws, paving way for election of mayors of Srinagar and Jammu, and heads of local urban bodies (ULBs) through secret ballot.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) Wednesday approved ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018’, an official spokesman said Thursday.

Sagar questioned the motive behind the governor administration’s move to bring such drastic changes “which has no precedence in our system”.

“Even in the Legislative Assembly, we have moved to open voting for Rajya Sabha and MLC elections. Same is the case with elections to country’s President and Vice President also which do not have a secret ballot as such. As per norms, the voter shows his or her ballot paper to the election agent concerned,” he said.

Asking the governor administration to focus more on security-related issues of the state, the NC leader said, “Our state is going through very tough times with everyday killings.”

“Dealing with the ground situation and ensuring a sense of security among people here must be governor’s first priority. He should see himself as the caretaker first and focus more on facilitating a peaceful environment in the state,” he added.

State unit of the Congress also questioned the move.

“Although the amendment is not going to make any big difference, it is indicative of something that has been drawn in hurry,” a Congress spokesman said here.

He said since Assembly stands intact, the bill should be debated.


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