NC questions delimitation panel's recommendations

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New Delhi, Jan 5: Terming the Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir Act “constitutionally suspect”, the National Conference (NC) questioned the Delimitation Commission’s recommendations for J&K, especially its rationale behind increasing six seats in Jammu division against one in Kashmir region.

In its reply to the commission, the NC said there were question marks over the panel's constitutional propriety, especially when the party along with several others, had approached the Supreme Court challenging the Centre's 2019 action of revoking the special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcating it into the union territories of Ladakh, and J&K. The party said the commission was formed because of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, which was under judicial scrutiny, and on which the apex court is yet to deliver its order.

The panel's recommendations were born out of an act which is "constitutionally suspect", it said. According to legal parlance, if any act is under judicial scrutiny and the apex court is seized of the matter, the act can be termed a "constitutionally suspect" law.

The party said the principle of constitutional propriety demands that such a law should not be implemented and all the limbs of the state and their institutions should, out of deference to the top constitutional court, desist from implementing such a law till its constitutionality is determined.

Three Lok Sabha members of the NC – Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone - had participated in the second meeting of the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Desai last month.

The commission's draft recommendations were presented in a meeting in New Delhi on December 20, 2021. It was attended by the three MPs of the NC and two of the BJP. The panel had sought the comments of the MPs, who are also its associate members, by December 31, 2021.

The NC had vociferously opposed the draft, which proposed to increase the number of assembly seats in the Jammu division from 37 to 43 and in Kashmir from 46 to 47.

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