Redrawing constituencies


Setting in motion the process for redrawing Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir, the Delimitation Commission has written to the Speakers of Lok Sabha to name associate members of the panel. Jammu and Kashmir at present has no Legislative Assembly. It is a Union Territory with a provision of a legislature. Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of States, for which the Delimitation Commission is set up, are drawn in as associate members to assist the panel in its task. Election Commission functionaries aware of the development said the delimitation panel met recently where the decision was taken to write to the Lok Sabha Speaker and presiding officers of State Assemblies to name associate members. The Delimitation Commission also asked the Election Commission Secretariat to obtain latest census data from the Registrar General of India of “up to the lowest administrative unit”. The Government had on March 6 constituted the Delimitation Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, to redraw Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeastern States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
In a welcome step, the commission will delimit the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act. Delimitation is the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province with a legislative body. According to Section 60 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, “…The number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114….” Out of these, 24 seats are in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. So effectively, the seats will go up from 83 to 90. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir came into being on October 31, 2019 after the state was reorganised and bifurcated into two Union Territories, Ladakh being the other. On February 28 this year, the Government had cancelled its earlier notifications which deferred delimitation in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh due to security issues, saying the exercise could be carried out “now” as the previous circumstances cease to exist.

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