HC dismisses plea for reserving Parliamentary seats for SCs, STs

HC dismisses plea for reserving Parliamentary seats for SCs, STs
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK

Srinagar: High Court of J&K and Ladakh Friday declined to issue a direction on a petition for reserving one parliamentary seat each for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) categories in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dismissing the petition filed in 2008 as “not maintainable”, a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar held that the Court cannot issue a direction to the respondents (authorities) to reserve a particular parliamentary constituency for the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe categories.

“A view in this regard is required to be taken by the competent authority on the basis of recommendations made by the Delimitation Commission constituted under The Delimitation Act, 2002,” Court said.

The Court pointed out that it was brought to its notice that the Ministry of Law and Justice (Legislative Department), Government of India vide S.O 1015 (E) dated 06.03.2020 has constituted a Delimitation Commission for allocation of seats in the House of People to the UT of Jammu and Kashmir and number of seats in the Legislative Assembly.

While the Court underscored that the Delimitation Commission constituted was given one year’s time to complete its exercise and submit its report, it said on March 3 this year the period of Delimitation Commission has been extended from one year to two years.

“When the Delimitation Commission is seized of the matter and exercise is under way, it would not be appropriate for this Court to make intervention in the matter,” the court said.

The Court however said the petitioners, if aggrieved, are well within their right to approach the Commission with their representation and seek consideration of their grievance. “It was for the Delimitation Commission to consider their grievance and redress the same if found genuine”, it said.

“In due deference to the doctrine of separation of powers, I refrain myself from issuing any mandamus (direction) to the respondents to reserve one Parliamentary Seat each for SCs and STs as is claimed by the petitioners in this petition,” Justice Kumar said.

In their plea before the Court the petitioners claimed to be members of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories and sought directions for reserving one Parliamentary seat for SCs and one for STs categories in the Lok Sabha in J&K under Article 330 (1) & (2) read with Article 341 & 342 of the Constitution of India.

They had also sought direction from the court for restraining the authorities from conducting Parliamentary elections in near future.

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