Jammu and Kashmir delimitation issue: Centre washes off hands, puts onus on state
Amid calls by BJP for fresh delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs has put the ball in the state government’s court by stating that the process of carrying out delimitation is provided within the state’s own Constitution.
“Jammu and Kashmir was not included within the purview of the Delimitation Act, 2002 as Article 170 of the Constitution of India that deals with the delimitation of constituencies for State Legislative Assemblies has not been extended to Jammu and Kashmir,” Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy told the Rajya Sabha.
Delimitation of constituencies in J&K is carried out under Sections 47 and 141 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
The J&K Assembly has 87 seats — 46 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu and 4 in Ladakh. Twenty-four seats are reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
In 2002, the J&K Assembly had passed a law putting a freeze on the fresh delimitation of seats till 2026. Eight years on, the Supreme Court had upheld the freeze imposed on delimitation.
The BJP claims the law can be amended by the Assembly and since the House stands dissolved, the Governor can amend the law to pave way for delimitation.
But, the other parties — the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Congress — are opposed to delimitation.