Delimitation within ambit of J&K Constitution: MHA

The process for carrying out the delimitation of Assembly segments in J&K is provided within state’s own Constitution, and not the Constitution of India, Union government informed the Parliament on Wednesday.

“Jammu and Kashmir was not included within preview of the delimitation Act 2002 as Article 170 of Constitution of India that deals with delimitation of constituencies for State Legislative Assemblies has not been extended to the State (J&K),” Minister of State for Home Affairs, G Krishna Reddy told the RajyaSabha, in a written reply to a question over the subject.

The reply states that process for delimitation of Legislative Assembly seats in J&K is provided under sections 47 and 141 of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Minister’s reply came in response to the question by MP RajyaSabha, Surendra Singh Nagar, from Samajwadi Party. Singh had asked the Centre to clarify its position over delimitation in J&K and road map in this regard.

The BharatiyaJanata Party has repeatedly raised the issue of delimitation or redrawing of Assembly segments in J&K, alleging that Kashmir was overrepresented in the Assembly, which, according to the party, has resulted in “marginalization” of Jammu and Ladakh.

In June this year media reports suggested that Government of India was planning delimitation of Assembly Constituencies in J&K, after Union Home Minister Amit Shah held meetings with senior officials of various ministries.

The media reports had suggested that appointment of a delimitation commission was being discussed.

This led to a strong reaction from mainstream parties in Kashmir.

While National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah said his party would oppose the proposal tooth and nail the Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said that ‘forced delimitation would be seen as an attempt to inflict another emotional partition on the state on communal lines’.

Following the outcry over the issue the Governor’s administration, which is currently in charge of the State, said there was no such proposal being discussed to carry out delimitation in J&K.

But, upping the ante the BJP’s state unit passed a resolution demanding delimitation to correct the “gross injustice to Jammu and Ladakh”, and ensuring reservations for SC and ST categories and de-freezing of eight seats in Assembly, reserved for Pakistan-administered-Kashmir. The then government led by Farooq Abdullah froze delimitation until 2026 by amending Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957, and Section 47(3) of the State Constitution, in 2002.

As per the amendments made in the J&K Constitution the next delimitation can be carried out only after the first census that will be carried out after 2026, meaning that the process can be carried out only after 2031 census.