In a move to allow incumbent commissioners of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) to continue at their current places of posting, the Jammu & Kashmir government has put in abeyance a legal provision that mandated 15 years’ service experience for officers to be posted as administrative heads of J&K’s two biggest municipal bodies.
In a notification, a copy of which is in possession of news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Housing & Urban Development Department has done away with the statutory requirement of 15 years of service experience for officers to be posted as commissioners in SMC and JMC.
As per sub-section (1) of section 45 of the Municipal Corporation Act, 2000, the government shall, by notification, in the government gazette, appoint a class 1 officer of the government having a service of not less than fifteen years, as the commissioner of the Corporation.
The Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation (Removal of Difficulties) Order, 2023 states that the government may appoint any suitable officer as commissioner of the Corporation, irrespective of his service experience, for the smooth functioning of the Corporations.
The legal requirement of 15 years of experience has been put on hold by invoking section 427 of the Municipal Corporation Act, which empowers the government to remove difficulties in the implementation of the Act. “If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act or by reasons of anything contained in this Act to any other enactment for the time being in force, the Government may, as occasion requires, by order direct that this Act shall during such period as may be specified in the order but not extending beyond the expiry of two years from the commencement orders have effect subject to such adaptations whether by way of modification, addition or omissions as it may deem to be necessary and expedient,” reads the provision.
According to the notification , the Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation (Removal of Difficulties) Order, 2023, shall deemed to have come into force w.e.f 01.01.2023 and shall remain in force for a period of two years or till it is revoked by the Government, whichever is earlier.
The incumbent SMC commissioner Athar Aamir Khan is 2015-batch IAS officer while his Jammu counterpart Rahul Yadav is 2014 -batch officer—(KNO)