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Delimitation Commission: No judicial process can be initiated for validity or correctness after publication in gazette

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The Union Government of India has informed the Supreme Court that the order pertaining to the delimitation commission redrawing poll constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir along with increasing the number of assembly seats from 83 to 90 has become final after publication in the gazette. The Union Government also added that judicial review of the exercise is not possible at this stage.

An affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) says that as per the Delimitation Act of 2002, once the commission’s orders are published in the Union Gazette , no judicial process can be initiated to test their validity or correctness.

The affidavit filed in response to a petition challenging the legitimacy of the UT’s delimitation process reads that “Section 10(2) of the Delimitation Act, 2002 prohibits challenging the orders of the Delimitation Commission once they are published in the Gazette of India.

The petition, was filed by a resident of Srinagar named Haji Abdul Gani Khan through advocate Sriram P, who questioned the legality of the delimitation exercise carried out in accordance with the notifications issued in 2020, 2021, and 2022 on a number of grounds.

He said that only the Election Commission was authorized to carry out the exercise and that the Centre had to wait until the 2026 Census to conduct any delimitation or readjustment of assembly seats.

Dismissing the petition of Khan, the affidavit by the Union Government states that if the prayers of the current petition are permitted , it would lead to an anomalous situation wherein orders of the Delimitation Commission, which attain finality at the time of publication in the Gazette of India, will be rendered infructuous.

The affidavit also added that if the petition of Khan is considered, it would be a violation of Article 329 of the Constitution, which details out the bar to interference by courts in electoral matters.”

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