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Delimitation Commission changes the electoral map of Jammu & Kashmir

  • Category
    Miscellaneous
  • Published
    17th May, 2022

Summary:

  • Context
  • What is Delimitation Commission?
  • About the Jammu & Kashmir Delimitations Commission
  • Why has the Commission’s decision received criticism?
  • What are the other important recommendations of the Commission?

Context

The Jammu & Kashmir Delimitations Commission has finalized its report in which it has recommended increase in the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

Background

What is the Delimitation Commission?

  • The Delimitation commissionor Boundary commission of India is a commission established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act.
  • The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundariesof the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
  • The representation from each Stateis not changed during this exercise. However, the number of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.
  • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 censusunder the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • The Commission’s orders cannot be challenged in any court of law. 

About the Jammu & Kashmir Delimitations Commission:

  • It is a 3 member Commission headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Ranjana Desai.
  • Its main function was to look into reorganization of Assembly and Lok Sabha seats in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in such a way that the people in different parts of the UT get equitable representation.

What are the important take away from the report of Delimitations Commission?

  • Increasing the total number of seats in the UT to 90 from 83 earlier.
  • This will increase the number of seats in the Jammu Division to 43 from 37 seats earlier, and that in the Kashmir Valley to 47 from 46 earlier.
  • Reorganisation of the Parliamentary constituencies such that the five Lok Sabha seats now are made up of exactly 18 Assembly constituencies each, taking the total number to 90,
  • Reservation of nine Assembly seats for Scheduled Tribes – six in Jammu and three in Kashmir, and Removal of the regional distinction between Jammu and Kashmir and treating it as one, as is reflected in the combining of Anantnag region in Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu to carve out Anantnag-Rajouri as a Parliamentary constituency.

Why has the Commission’s decision received criticism? 

  • The panel’s decisions are politically significant and have met with criticism amongst mainstream parties in the Valley.
  • The Jammu region has got more seats relative to its population compared with the Kashmir Valley, and this violates the population criterion, is a key contention of these parties.
  • The award of seats based on the 2011 census has meant that Jammu with 44 per cent population will get 48 per cent share in seats, while Kashmir with 56 per cent of population will get only 52 per cent share in seats.
  • Earlier, the Kashmir region had 55.4 per cent share in seats and Jammu 44.5 per cent share in seats.
  • Further it is also alleged that, the new Assembly seats in the Jammu region have been carved out mostly in Hindu dominated areas; the only seat in the Valley that has been carved out is in frontier Kupwara district.

What are the other important recommendations of the Commission?

  • The panel has also recommended that the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory have at least two members – one of them a woman – from the Kashmiri migrant community with the right to vote at par with nominated members like in the Puducherry Assembly.
  • Besides, it also recommended some representation to Persons displaced from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • The delimitation order said that names of Assembly constituencies have been changed keeping in view the demand of local representatives.
  • Names of the changed constituencies are as follows:
    • Tangmarg has been renamed Gulmarg
    • Zoonimar is Zaidibal
    • Sonwar is now Lal Chowk
    • Padder is Padder-Nagseni
    • Kathua North is Jasrota
    • Kathua South is Kathua
    • Khour is Chhamb
    • Mahore is Gulabhgarh
    • Darhal is Budhal

Practice Question

Q1. What do you understand by Delimitation of Constituencies? Examine its objectives and explain how delimitation affects the Representation of the People Act.

Q2. What is the current position of delimitation in India? Also, discuss the issues associated with delimitation.

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