Srinagar: It is curtains for 62-year-old Legislative Council in Jammu and Kashmir. Seventy-two days after Centre abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir government abolished the 62-year-old Upper House in the restive state.

A government order issued on Wednesday night asked 116-member staff of Legislative Council to report to the General Administration Department (GAD) by October 22. “Consequent to the abolition of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council according to Section 57 of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, it is ordered that the staff of the state legislative council shall report to the GAD by October 22,” the order said. On August 5, Centre abrogated Article 370 and divided Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

The 36-member Legislative Council was established in 1957 after Parliament passed an act. The Council functioned as an upper house for the 87-member Legislative Assembly.

In his order, Secretary of GAD Farooq Ahmad Lone directed the transfer of all vehicles purchased to the Director of State Motor Garages and the handing over of the building of the Council along with furniture and electronic gadgets to the Director of Estates. All records about the Council Secretariat including related legislative business shall be transferred to the Department of Law, Justice Parliamentary Affairs by the secretary, the order added.

Earlier in February this year, the State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik approved taking up the matter with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the proposal for holding elections to vacant seats in the J&K Legislative Council.

The decision to scrap Legislative Council comes just 14 days before Jammu and Kashmir is formally divided into two union territories. Jammu and Kashmir will be a union territory with Legislative Assembly while Ladakh will be a union territory without legislature.

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Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

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