ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Delimitation of J&K

Regional Disparity and Disproportionate Representation

After a long period of two years, the process of delimiting the assembly and parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir has finally come to an end. The union government went on with the process of delimitation with unflinching focus, disregarding the immense opposition to this exercise by most political parties on the ground. It is essential to enumerate the basic aspects of this delimitation, and analyse how these can have profound political consequences in the union territory of J&K.

On 5 May 2022, the Delimitation Commission (henceforth referred to as the commission), assigned with the responsibility of redrawing the assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), published its final report. The commission was set up under the terms of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorga­nisation Act of 2019, which divided the erstwhile state of J&K into two successor union territories, after the withdrawal of the special status enjoyed by the erstwhile state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. While the union territory of Ladakh, which emerged out of the bifurcation, was not provided with a legislature, the residual union territory of J&K was provided with a legislature, à la the union territory of Puducherry (Ministry of Law and Justice 2019: Section 13). The Reorganisation Act stipulated a process of delimitation of the constituencies of the region, and the central government repeatedly called such an exercise imperative for the resumption of the electoral process in the region.

The commission was set up through an official gazette notification published on 6 March 2020. The commission was set up under the chairpersonship of Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. The election commissioner of the Election Commission of India, Sushil Chandra, who went on to become the chief election commissioner, was appointed as the first ex officio member of the commission. The second ex officio member was the state election commissioner, K K Sharma. Furthermore, the five parliamentarians, members of the Lok Sabha (the lower house), from the erstwhile state of J&K, Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Jugal Kishore Sharma, and Jitendra Singh were the associate members of the commission. Notably, associate members do not have any voting rights under law and their objections are not binding on the commission. The commission was initially set up for a period of one year but was given a cumulative extension of 14 months under subsequent gazette notifications.

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Updated On : 20th Sep, 2022
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