Most DCs Submit Responses to SEC, More to Follow
Expedited process to meet the March 2022 deadline
JAMMU, October 6: In accelerating the process of demarcating Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir to meet the March 2022 deadline, the Judicial Boundaries Commission (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai called on suggestions / responses on 290 memoranda that she received during her first four days of visit to Union territory from July 6 to 9.
The Commission received at least 290 representations from political parties and stakeholders, ranging from the partial thaw of 24 seats falling in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to postponing the exercise until the reestablishment of the state, to the proper reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Kashmir Pundits, PoJK, and Western Pakistani Refugees, among others, and ensuring that each region gets its share of Assembly seats when they have completed their first visit to Union territory for four days, visiting different districts of the two divisions.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Boundary Commission forwarded the 290 representations to the State Election Commission (SEC) which, in turn, referred them to 20 deputy commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir, who are also District Election Officers (DEO).
“Most of the deputy commissioners have responded to the suggestions / questions while others are in the process of doing so,” sources said, adding that the DEO has submitted or will submit their suggestions / responses to the SEC who will forward them to the Commission. delimitation.
According to sources, the majority of the suggestions / questions raised in the memoranda submitted to the Delimitation Commission, in total 290, concerned the reservation of seats for different communities and castes, including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, PoJK refugees. and West Pakistan, Kashmir pundits, etc.
Some other suggestions concerned the early completion of the delimitation process and the conduct of the Assembly elections, the restoration of statehood in Jammu and Kashmir, the inclusion of certain areas in particular districts / constituencies, etc.
“Some of the other suggestions were just political in nature, but the Boundaries Commission forwarded all memorandums / suggestions to the State Election Commission which referred them back to the deputy commissioners for responses,” sources said, adding that the Commission wanted the Assembly’s constituency delineation process to be free and fair and that is why he submitted all briefs for response to the district returning officers.
Sources said the Boundaries Commission was continuing its process despite referring some territorial disputes within districts to the Survey of India, which was exclusively reported by the Excelsior last month.
The disputes were due to the haphazard creation of eight districts in Jammu and Kashmir by the Congress-PDP coalition government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, followed by administrative units comprising tehsils and blocs by the National Conference regime- Congress chaired by Omar Abdullah. Districts, tehsils and blocs were created without proper demarcation of the boundaries leading to an overlap of the territories of the districts as well as the constituencies of the Assembly.
During its four-day visit to EU territory, the Commission said it could pay another visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The Commission has its mandate until March 7, 2022 and is trying to meet the deadline. The Commission was established on March 6, 2020 with a one-year mandate which was extended for one year in March 2021.
Once the delineation exercise is completed, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will increase from 83 to 90.
Twenty-four Assembly seats remain vacant as they come under the PoJK.
While dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories through the Reorganization Act, the Union Home Office increased by seven seats in the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, bringing the total to 114 seats, of which 24 are reserved for the PoJK while the elections will be held for 90 seats. .
In the past, the state of Jammu and Kashmir had 111 seats, of which 24 were reserved for the PoK, while elections were held for 87 seats. With the creation of Ladakh as a Union territory, four seats in the region were reduced and the Assembly ended up with 83 seats. However, with a seven-seat increase, J&K UT will have a 90-seat Assembly. Two women MPs will be appointed to the House, which was also the case previously.
In the previous Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.
The delimitation of the constituencies of the Assembly last took place in 1994-95 during the reign of the President when the seats of the former State Assembly were increased from 76 to 87. Seats in the region of Jammu went from 32 to 37, those of Kashmir from 42 to 46 and those of Ladakh from two to four. . However, the boundary was frozen in 2002 by the then National Conference government headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah in accordance with a decision taken by the then central government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Elections to the Legislative Assembly will only take place after the delineation of the Assembly constituencies has been completed.