Delimitation within ambit of J&K Constitution: MHA

Says Central Act not applicable as State doesn’t come under purview of Article 170
File photo of Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.
File photo of Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.

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 thedelimitation Act 2002 as Article 170 of Constitution of India that deals withdelimitation of constituencies for State Legislative Assemblies has not beenextended to the State (J&K)," Minister of State for Home Affairs, G KrishnaReddy told the RajyaSabha, in a written reply to a question over the subject.

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

The Minister's reply came in response to the question by MPRajyaSabha, Surendra Singh Nagar, from Samajwadi Party. Singh had asked theCentre to clarify its position over delimitation in J&K and road map in thisregard.

The BharatiyaJanata Party has repeatedly raised the issue ofdelimitation or redrawing of Assembly segments in J&K, alleging thatKashmir was overrepresented in the Assembly, which, according to the party, hasresulted in "marginalization" of Jammu and Ladakh.

In June this year media reports suggested that Government ofIndia was planning delimitation of Assembly Constituencies in J&K, afterUnion Home Minister Amit Shah held meetings with senior officials of variousministries.

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

This led to a strong reaction from mainstream parties inKashmir.

While National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah saidhis party would oppose the proposal tooth and nail the Peoples Democratic Partychief Mehbooba Mufti said that 'forced delimitation would be seen as an attemptto inflict another emotional partition on the state on communal lines'.

Following the outcry over the issue the Governor'sadministration, which is currently in charge of the State, said there was nosuch proposal being discussed to carry out delimitation in J&K.

But, upping the ante the BJP's state unit passed aresolution demanding delimitation to correct the "gross injustice to Jammu andLadakh", and ensuring reservations for SC and ST categories and de-freezing ofeight seats in Assembly, reserved for Pakistan-administered-Kashmir. The thengovernment led by Farooq Abdullah froze delimitation until 2026 by amendingJammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957, and Section 47(3) ofthe State Constitution, in 2002.

As per the amendments made in the J&K Constitution thenext delimitation can be carried out only after the first census that will becarried out after 2026, meaning that the process can be carried out only after2031 census. 

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