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What is the Darbar Move in J&K all about?

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

What is the Darbar Move in J&K all about?


A tradition of a century and a half is set to be broken in Jammu and Kashmir, with only “sensitive records” being taken from Jammu to Srinagar this summer, unlike in previous years when the entire administration and records would be shifted during “Durbar Move”.

What is Darbar Move?

  • It is a century-old practice in which the government functioned for six months each in the two capitals of the erstwhile State, Srinagar and Jammu.
  • The practice was reportedly started in the late 19th century by Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Durbar Move was started to take the administration to the doorstep of the people of Kashmir which is closer to Ladakh.
  • The practice also enabled greater interaction and bonding among the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Criticisms surrounding:

  • The ‘Darbar Move’ results in wastage of tremendous amount of time, efforts and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity.
  • It is taxing for security forces too. It nurtures inefficiency and leads to lack of governance.
  • The same negatively impacts justice dispensation and impedes judicial administration.
  • It also causes delay in justice dispensation as government records are not available to the pleaders in one region for six months at a time.
  • Valuable documents and resources of the Union Territory in the nature of important and sensitive government documents are put to tremendous risk in the process of their transportation as they are packed in trunks and carried in hired trucks over a distance of 300 km between Jammu and Srinagar and vice-versa twice a year.

What has the High Court said?

Last year, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court observed that there was no legal justification or constitutional basis for the Darbar Move tradition.

  • Pointing out that the practice has resulted in wastage of tremendous amount of time, efforts and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity, a Division Bench observed that valuable resources of the state (financial and physical) cannot be diverted to completely non-essential usage when the Union Territory in unable to provide even basic essentials to its people.
  • The court recommended that in case the practice was rationalised, the resources and time saved could be utilised towards the welfare and development of the UT; the money saved could also be used to address Covid-related issues like food shortage, unemployment and healthcare.


Prelims Link:

  1. Important mountain ranges and passes in UT of J&K.
  2. Roads and tunnels connecting Jammu and Srinagar.
  3. Why was it given special provisions in the constitution?
  4. What is Darbar Move?

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues surrounding Darbar Move.

Sources: Indian Express.