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news details
Delimitation is constitutional requirement, not a concession
Giving Jammu due representation
6/17/2019 12:01:27 AM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, June 16: A Delimitation exercise to redraw the numerical strength of an electoral constituency on the basis of geographical-cum-population parameters is not a concession; it's a constitutional requirement. And those in the Valley are opposing the idea of delimitation are only exposing themselves and further widening the already rather wide gulf between the three regions of the state. The present delimitation of constituencies in Jammu & Kashmir has been done on the basis of 1981 Census. The 2002 Delimitation law requires a Commission to be constituted for readjusting the representation of the territorial constituencies of the House of the People and the Legislative Assemblies of the Indian States as well as the delimitation of the Constituencies. This effectively excludes interference by political parties for their own advantage; this crucial factor in delimiting constituencies has, since 1996, been adopted in Kashmir also.
After accession to India on October 26, 1947, the State Constituent Assembly was constituted under the 1939 J&K Constitutional Act, but Sheikh Abdullah's administration arbitrarily carved out 30 seats for Jammu region and 43 seats for Kashmir region and 2 seats for Ladakh region. This regional disparity became perpetuated thereafter: 46 seats for Kashmir region, 37 for Jammu and 4 for Ladakh.
Add another queer factor. The J&K State Constitution provided for 24 seats to be added to the State Assembly after Pakistan Occupied Kashmir area (Azad Kashmir) was added to the suzerainty of J&K State.
In 1995 in extremely difficult circumstances; it was done under the Justice (retd) KK Gupta Commission. The worst came in 2002 when the last time a delimitation exercise took place in the state when it was under President's Rule. Incidentally, the Constitution provides for delimitation every 10 years, the next delimitation of assembly constituencies should have logically taken place in 2005. However, in 2002, the Farooq Abdullah government chose to freeze delimitation until 2026 by amending the Jammu & Kashmir Representation of the People Act 1957 and Section 47(3) of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir with all political parties, including BJP, and excluding Panthers Party, supporting the amendment.
It is abundantly clear that J&K State needs a Delimitation exercise very badly. For a quarter of a century, no recasting of seats and constituencies has been done.
All of it even as it says a lot that the National Conference Party of the Abdullah dynasty is against the Delimitation in J&K. And so is another dynastic party called the PDP of the Mufti clan. The opposition to the demand in Jammu for delimitation is politically and communally motivated and unwarranted. They are opposing delimitation because they knew that Jammu may get 48 seats in the 87-member House on the basis population, land area, nature of terrain and accessibility. Let Jammu get what it deserves, let Kashmir get what it deserves and as for Ladakh, it also deserves more representation considering its size and nature of the terrain.
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