J&K Delineation: Supreme Court Gives Center 1 Week to File Counter Plea | Latest India News


The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its dissatisfaction with the Union government’s delay in responding to a petition that challenged the validity of the Boundaries Commission’s proposed decision to redraw electoral constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, and to increase the number of seats in the assembly from 83 to 90.

“We note with regret that no counter-attestation has been filed by the respondents despite sufficient time, as they requested. We don’t like it and we would have imposed a fee if not for the young lawyer who appears and assured the bench that the counter affidavit will be filed within a week,” said a bench of judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka.

The court added in its order that if the Center does not file its response within one week, the affidavit will only be accepted by the registry with a fine of 25,000.

On May 13, the bench had issued opinions to the Centre, the administration of Jammu and Kashmir and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a petition filed by Haji Abdul Gani Khan, a resident of Srinagar, putting questioned the legality of the delimitation exercise conducted in terms of the notifications issued in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

On May 5, the three-member Boundaries Commission finalized UT’s new electoral map, marking the first stage of elections in the region since its special status was removed in August 2019. In its final order, the commission said reserved 43 seats for Hinduism. the Jammu-majority region and 47 in Muslim-majority Kashmir – a total of 90 seats for the Union Territory assembly, up from 83 currently.

Of the seven new seats added, six were allocated to Jammu and one to Kashmir. Previously, Jammu had 37 seats and Kashmir 46. This brings Kashmir’s representation to 52.2% from 55.4% of total seats, and brings Jammu’s representation to 47.8% from 44.6% . The exercise was carried out on the basis of the 2011 census, which estimated the population of J&K at 12.5 million, with 56.2% in Kashmir and 43.8% in Jammu.

The Boundaries Commission, which includes former Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and J&K Chief Electoral Officer KK Sharma, was established in March 2020 with five UT parliamentarians as associate members.

J&K lost its special status and statehood on August 5, 2019, when the Center decided to strike down Section 370 of the Constitution. At a landmark all-party meeting in June last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told political party leaders that statehood would be restored after new elections were held in the region, on the basis of the delimitation process.

But parties in the region, which have remained staunchly opposed to the removal of its special status, want statehood restored ahead of demarcation and elections – a demand denied by the Center. Assembly seats in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir were last redrawn in 1995, based on the 1981 census.

In his petition, Khan argued that a constitutional provision coupled with a decision by the J7K legislature required the Center and the ECI to wait until 2026 to make any delineation or readjustment of assembly seats. . He pointed out that any delineation based on the 2011 population census is unconstitutional since no population census was conducted for J&K that year. Under Article 170 (3), according to the plea, a redrawing of the constituency can only be carried out after the census, which is now proposed for 2026.



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