Delimitation Commission: 'MPs recommendations won't be binding'

The MPs who have been nominated for Delimitation Commission would have only advisory role and their recommendations will not be binding on the authorities in fixing boundaries of Assembly and Parliamentary segments.

According to the law governing delimitation exercise in J&K, the associate members would neither have voting rights nor can they sign any decision of the Election Commission.

“None of the associate members shall have a right to vote or to sign any decision of the Commission,” reads sub-section (4) of section 5 of Delimitation Commission Act-2002.

It says the role of associate members was limited to assisting the poll body in delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir.

The delimitation exercise would encompass fixing boundaries of 90 assembly and five Parliamentary segments and reserving seats for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes.

The J&K Re-organization Act enacted by the Centre paved way for the first delimitation exercise in J&K after abrogating J&K’s statehood.

Prior to 5 August 2019, the delimitation of Assembly was not possible in Jammu and Kashmir till first census after 2026, which was at least not before 2031- due to amendments carried out in J&K Constitution and J&K Representation Act-1957 under which delimitation exercises were carried in the erstwhile state of J&K in 1975 and 1995.

In the erstwhile Legislative Assembly, Kashmir region had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four seats.

Five LokSabha MPs from J&K including Farooq Abdullah, HasnainMasoodi AND Muhammad Akbar Lone were nominated by Speaker Om Birla as associate members of the Delimitation commission which was constituted on March 6.

The Commission is headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ranjana Desai while Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar are members of the panel. National Conference has said that becoming a part of delimitation process would have been against the basic stand of the party.

Masoodi said the Delimitation Commission was a product of the J&K Reorganization Act-2019, which his party has challenged in and outside Supreme Court.

“Participating in this Commission will be tantamount to accepting the events of August 5, which the National Conference is unwilling to do,” he said. Masoodi said the role of MPs was advisory only and their recommendations were not mandatory.

“In any case we would not been able to enforce our suggestions in this unconstitutional exercise. It was a kind of trap,” he said.

Asked that some political parties have accused National Conference of playing “deceitful politics” and allowing BJP upper hand in the Delimitation process, political commentator Siddiq Wahid said he was in agreement with the National Conference for boycotting the Delimitation process.

“Because we are asking for something that is quite outside that box,” he said.

Taking a dig at National Conference (NC), JKAP leader, Ghulam Hassan Mir had said the party’s decision to boycott the Delimitation Commission was a “deceit” with electorate of J&K. “The party will be solely responsible for harming the interests of J&K if the outcome of the Delimitation process was anti-people,” Mir had said.