J&K Delimitation Commission’s orders cannot be questioned in any Court

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Ground Report | News Desk

The orders of delimitation commission set-up by the Government of India for fixing boundaries of Assembly and Parliamentary segments in Jammu & Kashmir cannot be challenged in any court. The law governing creation of the body makes it unambiguously clear that its every order shall have the force of the law and shall not be called in question in any court.

“Upon publication in the Gazette of India, every such order shall have the force of law and shall not be called in question in any court,” reads sub-section (2) of section 10 of Delimitation Commission Act-2002.

Similar provisions also existed in the law and J&K constitution under which delimitation process was carried out in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Delimitation Commission shall cause its order made under clause (d) of sub-section (3) of section 4 to be published in the Gazette, and upon such publication, the said order shall have the force of law and shall not be called in question in any court,” read Jammu and Kashmir Representation of Peoples Act-1957.

The law is no more applicable to J&K from October 31 last year after the Parliament approved its scraping on August 5- the day when Article 370 was abrogated by BJP-led Central government KNO reported.

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In 1977, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ruled that it cannot even investigate whether the notification published by Delimitation Commission under Section 4(B) of Representation of Peoples Act is reasonable.

“We accordingly hold that the orders under section 4 and 4B of the Representation of Peoples Act which govern the adjustment of number of seats and delimitation of Assembly constituencies cannot be enquired into the Court in view of the bar contained in section 142 (a) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir,” a two-judge bench headed by Justice A.S. Anand and Justice I.K. Kotwal ruled.

As already reported, a three-member delimitation commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ranjana Desai has been set-up to undertake delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary segments in J&K.

However National Conference has decided against participating in proceedings of the panel as associate members, reasoning that it would tantamount to accepting August 5 decision.

National Conference (NC) on Friday rejected the Delimitation Commission announced by the Centre recently for Jammu and Kashmir, saying that the party’s three members of Parliament will not participate in it.
In a statement, the NC, led by former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said: “With reference to the recently announced Delimitation Commission announced by the Government of India, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference today rejects this process and its three members of Parliament will not participate in the said commission.”

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The party added: “This delimitation commission is a product of the J&K Re-organisation Act 2019, which the JKNC is challenging in and outside the Supreme Court. Participating in this delimitation Commission will be tantamount to accepting the events of 5th August 2019, which the NC is unwilling to do.”

What is J&K’s delimitation commission?

The Delimitation commission or 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 boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.

After delimitation under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019, the number of assembly seats in the state is to increase to seven seats and the total number of seats will reach 114. Of these, 24 seats will be reserved for Pakistan- administrated Jammu and Kashmir.

According to experts, out of the seven seats increasing after the delimitation, many seats can be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. Currently, seven assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir have been reserved for the Scheduled Castes, but not even one seat is reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.

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In such a situation, there is a possibility of reservation of seats for the scheduled castes after the new delimitation. The leadership of the BJP also wants that there is reservation of seats for the Scheduled Tribes. This will increase the number of seats in Jammu division.

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