J&K Delimitation: BJP, NC MPs to be part of commission

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J&K Delimitation Commission

SRINAGAR — With Jammu and Kashmir currently without Legislative Assembly, members of Lok Sabha from National Conference (NC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be nominated as associate members of the delimitation commission empowered to fix boundaries of Assembly segments in the newly carved out Union Territory.

Going by statutory requirements and representation of parties in the Lok Sabha, National Conference and BJP MPs from J&K would find place in the delimitation panel as associate members. “Of five Lok Sabha MPs from J&K, four would be nominated as associate members of the panel,” an official citing legal obligations under the J&K Re-organisation Act.

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The law provides that four persons – MLAs of J&K or four Lok Sabha members representing the newly carved out UT – would assist the Election Commission of India (ECI) in delimitation process.

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“The Election Commission shall, for the purpose of assisting it in the performance of its functions under sub-section (1), associate with itself as associate members, four persons as the Central Government may by order specify, being persons who are the members of the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or four members of the House of the People representing the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” reads sub-section (3) of Section 60 of Jammu and Kashmir Re-organization Act.

After bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, J&K UT has five members in Lok Sabha including Minister of State Jitendra Singh. Dr Farooq Abdullah (NC), Muhammad Akbar Lone (NC) and Hasnain Masoodi (NC) and Jugal Kishore Sharma (BJP) are other MPs representing J&K in Lok Sabha.

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The Election Commission of India has written to the Lok Sabha speaker to nominate associate members for delimitation process in J&K.

The delimitation commission is mandated to fix boundaries for 90 Assembly segments and five Lok Sabha seats of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also empowered to reserve seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Interestingly, the associate members would not have voting rights nor can they take any decision of the Election Commission.

The Centre had earlier this year constituted a delimitation commission for Assembly as well as Parliamentary segments of J&K. It is headed by former a Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Desai.

The last delimitation exercise in J&K was completed in 1995 when the erstwhile State was under President’s rule.

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