Centre to increase Assembly seats in the Jammu & Ladakh in J&K State

Centre mulls Delimitation Commission to undo discrimination with Jammu, Ladakh

Section 47 needs amendment to end freeze on increase in seats

To undo the discrimination meted out to Jammu and Ladakh regions in terms of political power by successive Kashmir-centric Governments, the Central  Government proposed to setup Delimitation Commission in the State, which was a long pending demand of the BJP,which had got it listed in the‘Agenda of Alliance’ reached between PDP-BJP before forming their first-ever Government in March 2015.

Constitution of theDelimitation Commission andsome other decisions to end longstanding discrimination withJammu and Ladakh regions fig-ured prominently during three high-level meetings held onJammu and Kashmir by UnionHome Minister Amit Shah dur-ing last four days after takingover charge of the Ministry lastSaturday.

“Apart from increase in number of total Assembly seats in the State, which is presently 87, the Commission can also bemandated to rotate seven seatsreserved for Scheduled Castes(SCs), which haven’t been rotat-ed for last four Assembly elecions,’’ official sources told theExcelsior.At present, Jammu regionhas just 37 Assembly seats asagainst 46 of Kashmir region, a gap of nine seats, which vests political power with the Kashmir leadership.

Ladakhregion has 4 Assembly seats.The last time a delimitation exercise took place in the Statewas also under President’s Rulewhen Gen KV Krishna Rao wasGovernor of the State for secondterm from 1993 to 1998. TheDelimitation Commission wa set up in 1995 with Justice(Retd) K K Gupta as theChairman. The Commission hadincreased J&K’s Assemblyseats from 76 to 87 but failedto address concerns of Jammuregion.

In 76 seats, Jammu had 32, Kashmir 42 and Ladakh 2, which theCommission raised to 87 giv-ing 37 to Jammu, 46 to Kashmir and four to Ladakh.It miserably failed to over-come the discrimination metedout to Jammu region in termsof political empowerment.Incidentally the Constitutionprovides for delimitation every10 years, the next delimitation of Assembly constituenciesshould have logically takenplace in 2005.However, in 2002, theFarooq Abdullah Government chose to freeze delimitation until2026 by amending the Jammu &Kashmir Representation of thePeople’s Act 1957 and Section47(3) of the Constitution ofJammu & Kashmir. The amend-ed Section 47(3) provided

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