- Mention the recommendatory changes by the delimitation commission.
Recently, the Commission set up for delimitation of J&K, headed by Retd. Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, submitted its final report. Delimitation became necessary upon the promulgation of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019. It has made great changes in the existing structure of Assembly seats. Among others, the Commission has redrawn boundaries of Anantnag and Jammu seats; a Shia-dominated region of Srinagar has been transferred to Baramulla constituency.
Bold recommendations: Overall, the Commission’s recommendations ensures that all communities have a share in the Assembly. J&K hosts people of several ethnicities, castes and religions who needed to be accommodated in the power structure. To prevent the failing of the First Past the Post System, and to empower every community, the Commission has demarcated assembly constituencies that Dogras, SCs, STs, and Kashmiri Muslims get a fair share in decision-making. Another bold step is to offer reservation of two seats for 2% miniscule minority – the Kashmiri Pandits, one of which will be reserved for women. It has further recommended unspecified number of seats for migrants of Pakistani controlled areas in 1947. The completion of the redrawing of electoral map of J&K will pave the way for its Assembly elections.
The Commission has increased the total number of seats from 83 to 90. This has resulted in increase in seat in Jammu from 37 to 43 and in the Kashmir valley from 46 to 47. It has also reserved 9 assembly seats – 6 in Jammu and 3 in Kashmir – for STs. 7 seats have been reserved for SCs. The Constitution of the erstwhile J&K did not provide reservation for STs in the Legislative Assembly. The erstwhile state of J&K had 111 seats – with 7 additional seats – now it has become 114, making the effective strength of the assembly 90, excluding 24 seats reserved for PoK.
The Commission’s decision to carve out a Lok Sabha seat with areas from Jammu region & Kashmir valley called Anantnag-Rajouri is based on the view that two region is integrated and that the 5 LS constituencies now have 18 assembly seats.
The FPTP system needs tweaking in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious region. As countries and democracies evolve, there is a need to shift from the rule of majority to empowerment of all sections – an imperative for inclusive democracy. The J&K Delimitation Commission has taken a bold step towards that end, which is the beginning in the transition from exclusive to inclusive democracy.