The J&K Delimitation Commission is likely to get a second extension of its term this month.
GS II- Governance, Representation Of People’s Act
Dimensions of the article:
- Delimitation in J&K
- Delimitation Commission Act, 2002
- Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
- The unique provision for J&K was enabled through an amendment introduced in the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019.
- The Act passed by Parliament bifurcated the State of J&K into the Union Territories of J&K (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
- The J&K Assembly was dissolved in November 2018 and the region has been under Central rule since June 2018.
- Section 63 was introduced in the J&K Reorganisation Act so that the delimitation exercise can be conducted smoothly without overlapping with other provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002.
- The provision did not require any separate legislation as it was incorporated in the primary Act.
- The full Delimitation Commission is yet to be appointed.
- The delimitation will be done for 90 seats as 24 seats fall in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- The exercise will take at least a year to complete. Till then, no Elections can be held
Delimitation in J&K
- Assembly seats in J&K were delimited in 1963, 1973 and 1995.
- Prior to August 5, 2019, carving out of J&K’s Assembly seats was carried out under the J&K Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.
- Until then, the delimitation of Lok Sabha seats in J&K was governed by the Constitution of India.
- However, the delimitation of the state’s Assembly was governed by the J&K Constitution and J&K Representation of the People Act, 1957.
- There was no census in the state in 1991 and hence no Delimitation Commission was set up by the state until 2001 census.
Concerns raised over Delimitation in J&K
- Concerns had been expressed over how the delimitation process may end up favoring the Jammu region over Kashmir in terms of the seats.
- Arguments have been made on how Ladakh has been underrepresented, with demands for statehood/sixth schedule.
- It is argued that seats for STs should’ve been divided in both Jammu province & Kashmir province, as the ST population is almost equal.
Delimitation Commission Act, 2002
An Act to provide for the readjustment of:
- The allocation of seats in the House of the People to the States
- The total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each State
- The division of each State and each Union territory having a Legislative Assembly into territorial constituencies for elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union territories
- and for matters connected therewith.
- Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country to represent changes in population.
Delimitation is done in order to:
- Provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
- Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
- Follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.
The problems with delimitation are:
- States that take little interest in population control could end up with a greater number of seats in Parliament. The southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.
- In 2008, Delimitation was done based on the 2001 census, but the total number of seats in the Assemblies and Parliament decided as per the 1971 Census was not changed.
- The constitution has also capped the number of Lok Shaba & Rajya Sabha seats to a maximum of 550 & 250 respectively and increasing populations are being represented by a single representative.
Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
- The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 was introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 5, 2019 by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah.
- The Bill provides for reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
- The Bill reorganises the state of Jammu and Kashmir into: (i) the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and (ii) the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
- The Union Territory of Ladakh will comprise Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will comprise the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be administered by the President, through an administrator appointed by him known as the Lieutenant Governor.
- The Union Territory of Ladakh will be administered by the President, through a Lieutenant Governor appointed by him.
- The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir will be the common High Court for the Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Further, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government of the Union Territory.
- The Legislative Council of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be abolished. Upon dissolution, all Bills pending in the Council will lapse.