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Farooq Abdullah nominated to delimitation panel on Jammu and Kashmir

Delimitation, however, is a particularly prickly issue for the NC on two counts- one, the party has challenged the J&K reorganization Act 2019 itself in the SC and hence its participation in delimitation exercise that follows from the Act leaves it in a political hotspot.

ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 29, 2020, 12.29 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: Even as the Supreme Court heard a plea on the Delimitation Commission on Thursday, the Commission on Thursday held its second meeting getting on board associate members nominated from across parties.

Among those nominated to the commission by the Lok Sabha Speaker are National Conference president and MP Farooq Abdullah.

Delimitation, however, is a particularly prickly issue for the NC on two counts- one, the party has challenged the J&K reorganization Act 2019 itself in the SC and hence its participation in delimitation exercise that follows from the Act leaves it in a political hotspot.

Two, in 2002, the then NC government amended the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act 1957 and Section 47(3) of the Constitution of J&K freezing delimitation of the state’s constituencies.

J&K saw the last such exercise undertaken only in 1995. It has often been argued that the delimitation exercise was held back deliberately to ensure greater representation of Kashmir in the legislative assembly and Parliament rather than Jammu area.

According to Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly are to increase from 107 to 114 with due reservations for SC and STs. This also includes 24 seats reserved for Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK).

National Conference has filed a petition in Supreme Court challenging the J&K Reorganization Act passed on August 5, 2019. The petition has been accepted and referred to a constitutional bench along with at least ten other petitions on the same issue.

Dr Farooq Abdullah, who has now been nominated as associate member of delimitation commission said that his party would come out with the formal statement on this development after a meeting on Friday.

“I have been nominated along with other Lok Sabha members from J&K. We will formally announce our stand on Friday,” Farooq Abdullah told ET.

Another NC parliamentarian from Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, Hasnain Masoodi said that the law doesn’t require their consent for nomination in the delimitation commission. However, he clarified that he doesn’t personally agree with any decision, which is taken in context of August 5 and 6, 2019, decisions.

“We will come out with the party decision as soon as possible. But personally I will say that this whole exercise is the outcome of J&K Reorganization Act which we and other members of the society have challenged in SC,” said Masoodi, adding, “GoI should have respected it own institution and waited for the SC verdict.”

The Delimitation commission has also run into litigation with a plea from Assam challenging the state’s proposed delimitation on the basis of the 2001 census. The SC, on Wednesday has issued a notice to the Centre and Assam government on the same.

Assam’s Ramendra Narayan Kalita from (Asom Gana Parishad), Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha (Congress), Hafiz Bashir Ahmed (All India United Democratic Front), Mrinal Kumar Saikia (BJP) and Rabiram Narzary (Bodoland People’s Front) are among those nominated to the Delimitation Commission.

The delimitation commission has been set up to redraw boundaries and sizes of electoral constituencies for J&K, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Chaired by former SC Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, it held its first meeting on April 29.

Meanwhile, the Delimitation Commission issued a press statement on its second meeting held on Thursday citing the nomination of associate members from Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies of Assam and Mnaipur. It also noted that the requisite census data has been received from the Registrar GeneraL AND Cenus Commsioner of India and additional information would be sought from states as necessary.
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