Sunday, February 5, 2023

Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir: Supreme Court reserves verdict

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The Supreme Court reserved its judgement on Thursday on a petition challenging the Central government’s decision to constitute a Delimitation Commission for redrawing the Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on the grounds that it violated Constitutional provisions.

The matter was heard by the Bench of Justice S.K. Kaul and Abhay S. Oka. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, cCounsel for the Election Commission and the lawyer of the petitioners made their submissions today.

The Counsel appearing for petitioners – Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Mohammad Ayub Mattoo – argued that the delimitation exercise was carried out in contravention of the scheme of the Constitution and that alteration of boundaries and inclusion of extended areas should not have been done.

The petitioners challanged the Constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to increase the number of seats from 107 to 114 (including 24 seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) in Jammu and Kashmir. 

They sought a declaration from the Apex Court that the move was ultra vires of constitutional provisions and statutory provisions, particularly under Section 63 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

As per the petition, the last Delimitation Commission was set up on July 12, 2002 in exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 after the 2001 Census to carry out the exercise throughout the country.

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