Any person from outside Jammu and Kashmir can now buy land in the Union Territory, which till now was exclusively meant for permanent residents and residents with domicile certificate. The home ministry made several changes in the land laws, over a year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. The new MHA rule, called the UT of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020, nullifies 11 previous land laws of the former J&K state. In a gazette notification, the Centre has omitted the phrase “permanent resident of the state” from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act that deals with disposal of the land in the union territory.
The process was intended to make laws applicable to the rest of India to become the legal tender in the UT as well. In the current scenario, protections that certain states offered in terms of restrictions on land sale could be considered by the administration. The amendments did not allow the transfer of agricultural land to non-agriculturists. However, there are several exemptions in the Act which enable the transfer of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, including setting up of educational or health care facilities.