The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Domicile norm eased with census, vote list

Ranchi, Dec. 26: In a softening of stand, an all-party meeting today unanimously resolved to broaden the criteria for identifying “domiciles” and not to keep the 1932 cut-off year as the sole deciding factor.

According to a broad framework drawn up today, a person will be treated to be domiciled in Jharkhand if his or the names of his forefathers figure in the 1932 record of land rights. This was the initial proposal.

Now two more criteria have been added. Domicile status will be available to those who were included in the 1951 census or figure on the voters’ list for the country’s first general elections in 1952.

The meeting unanimously endorsed a proposal calling for treating a person as domiciled if any one of the three conditions is met.

However, the final domicile policy will be drawn up by a committee of experts – mainly legal – to be set up by chief minister Babulal Marandi shortly.

The all-party meeting authorised the chief minister to set up an expert committee which would go into the legal and constitutional requirements to avoid unnecessary litigation in the future.

Jharkhand High Court had earlier struck down the state’s domicile policy fixing 1932 as the base year, terming it unconstitutional and irrelevant.

The representatives of all the political parties agreed that the final draft of the domicile policy would not be placed before the Assembly during the current winter session, which is slated to conclude on December 28.

Marandi told reporters at the end of a marathon meeting that spanned over two-and-a-half hours that the political parties were unanimous in their decision to reserve all Class III and IV state government jobs exclusively for “locals”.

He said that in September this year, while adopting the 1982 Bihar circular, the state government had made it clear that for the purposes of filling up vacancies in Class III and IV posts in the state government, preference would be granted to “the local population”.

The chief minister added that only if the vacancies could not be filled from among the local people, could outsiders be considered.

However, Marandi refused to spell out the details of the criteria to distinguish the locals from outsiders. He said that as a committee was being named to look into the issue, it would be improper to suggest the ground rules at the moment.

He added that an official announcement would follow only after the government received the final policy document from the expert committee.

Since early this morning, the representatives of all parties, including the Adivasi Moolvasi Janadhikar Manch, the Janata Dal (United), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and some social organisations conceded that they favoured a more flexible approach to the domicile issue in the overall interest of the state.

At a Janata Durbar held at the residence of Jharkhand energy minister Lal Chand Mahato this morning, Dal (United) state chief Gautam Sagar Rana, along with Lal Chand Mahato, declared that instead of making 1932, a pre-Independence year, as the cut-off year, a more acceptable formula like the 1951 census or the 1952 voters’ list could form the basis of the guidelines.

Adivasi Moolvasi Janadhikar Manch leader Bandhu Tirkey said that along with the last record of land rights beginning with 1932 and extended to the actual dates of completion of survey in different districts, the 1951 census should be fixed as the base criterion for domicile purposes.

Tirkey added that those who had migrated to Jharkhand following Partition would also be treated as domiciles.

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