Adv H C JalmeriaAfter every census, which takes place after every ten years, there shall be delimitation of constituencies for House of People as provided in Article 82 of the Constitution of India and for State Assemblies as provided in the Article 170. Vide 84th Constitutional amendment of 2001, it was provided that until the relevant figures for first census taken after year 2026 have been published, it shall not be necessary to readjust:(i) The allocation of seats in the House of People to the State as readjusted on the basis of the 1971 census; and(ii) The division of each State into territorial constituencies as may be readjusted on the basis of the 2001 census. Year 2001 was incorporated vide 87th Constitutional amendment made in 2003.The J&K Assembly incorporated the same provision by making 29th amendment in J&K State Constitution in the year 2002. Since then neither there has been any delimitation in J&K nor any rotation of seats. In 1987, through 20th Constitutional Amendment, the number of total seats in J&K Assembly, were increased from 100 to 111. It is worth mentioning here that 24 seats have been reserved for the residents of people living in areas under the illegal control of Pakistan. Out of the remaining 87 seats, 46 were given to Kashmir Valley, 4 to Ladakh and 37 to Jammu Province.The record of elections held for J&K legislature shows, during Maharaja’s time elections were held for Praja Sabha in the years 1934, 1938 & 1947 and for Constituent Assembly of J&K in year 1951. After adoption of State Constitution in 1957, elections were held in years 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1983, 1987, 1996, 2002, 2008 & 2014.On 5 August, 2019, Parliament passed J&K State Reorganisation Act 2019 whereby Jammu & Kashmir was converted into two Union Territories: Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. It came into effect on 31st October, 2019. State Legislative Council was also abolished.Out of 87 seats for J&K Assembly, four were from Ladakh. J&K UT was left with 83 seats. A provision was made to add 7 more seats to J&K UT thus making total of 90 seats. In total of J&K including PoJK, when 4 seats of Ladakh were taken out total was reduced from 111 to 107. In reorganisation Act 2019, provision was made to add 7 seats to J&K. Total of J&K increased from 107 to 114. After reserving 24 seats for PoJK, effective seats for holding elections in J&K increased from 83 to 90. The last Delimitation for J&K Assembly was conducted in the year 1995 by Commission headed by Justice KK Gupta when 46 seats for Kashmir Valley, 37 seats for Jammu Province and 4 seats for Ladak were allocated.No delimitation has been conducted in Jammu and Kashmir after year 1995 despite censuses of 2001 and 2011.March 6, 2020 Govt of India, Ministry of Law & Justice, vide S.O. 1015(E) constituted Delimitation Commission for J&K UT and states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland headed by retired judge of SC Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai. Two other Ex-officio members appointed are Sushil Chandra- Election Commissioner and State Election Commissioner of Concerned State.March 4, 2021, this Commission was given one year extension. Five members of Lok Sabha from J&K are its associate members. They are Dr Farooq Abdullah, Justice Hasnain Massodi, Mohd Akbar Lone from Kashmir and Dr Jitendra Singh & Jugal Kishore from Jammu. So far, this Commission has not held any meeting in J&K or visited J&K. It is learnt that the Commission has invited some data from 20 Deputy Commissioners of J&K. Various factors are to be taken into consideration by the Delimitation Commission in preparing its findings.In elections held for J&K Assembly in the year 2002, the Election Commission published a book giving statistical data regarding votes of all Assembly segments of the then J&K State. When perused minutely, it revealed that total number of votes in Jammu Province were 31,06,114, in Kashmir Valley it were 28,84,841 and in Ladakh Division votes were 1,74,153. Thus Jammu province had 2,21,273 more votes than that of Kashmir Valley. Further analysis showed that in Jammu Province, on average, one MLA represents 83,949.07 votes and in Kashmir valley a MLA represents 62,713.93 votes. When we combine Kashmir and Jammu Provinces, the average comes to 72,180 votes per MLA. On this basis, Jammu should had 43.03 seats and Kashmir Valley should had 39.96 seats. But, we know Jammu had 37 and Kashmir had 46 seats. It may be noted that in Assembly elections, votes of West Pak Refugees and other non-state subjects were not included.When we take area in to consideration, Jammu Province has 26,293 Square km and Kashmir Valley has 15,948 Sq km. We are not taking into account 78,114 Sq km under Pakistan and 37,555 sq km under China as well as 5,180 sq km surrendered by Pak to China. Geographical area is also a factor to be considered in delimitation. Apparently it seems have been ignored. But surprisingly, the 2011 Census report projects quite different picture. When analysed, it reveals that Kashmir valley has population of 68,88,475 souls and Jammu Province has population of 53,78,534 souls. That means Kashmir valley has 15,09,941 more population than that of Jammu province. This seems more a table work than exercise conducted in the field to present true picture. How can a population having lesser votes out grow so alarmingly within 10 years? Now question arises whether data of 2002 votes enumerated by election Commission can be falsified by the doubtful census report of 2011. The most agonizing fact is that the Govt. of India has made 2011 census as the base for new delimitation of 90 Assembly Constituencies in J&K. The much awaited demand of the people of Jammu for fair delimitation is likely to remain unsatisfied if 2011 census report remains the basis for it.Let there be a proper, transparent exercise of new census which is due in this year 2021. Taking into consideration the data of 2021 census report should become the basis for conducting and completing the exercise of much awaited delimitation exercise for J&K Assembly. Why should Jammu be satisfied with only two seats in Lok Sabha vis a vis three seats from the valley. There should be proper rationalization of this question also taking into consideration geographical area and current population figures.
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