Jammu and Kashmir’s delimitation was dismissed by the Indian Supreme Court on Monday.
The Indian apex court bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice A.S. Oka had determined that the petitioners had not challenged the constitutional validity of a specific provision in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act that conferred the Delimitation Commission with the authority to carry out the re-adjustment of constituencies formed after the abrogation of Article 370 in the erstwhile State.
The petition filed by Srinagar residents, Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Dr. Mohammad Ayub Mattoo, was limited to a challenge to the notification issued by the Centre in March 2020 establishing the Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission and a second one in March 2021 extending its term to only conduct delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir.
At Monday’s hearing, the court asked why the petitioners had challenged only the notifications, without challenging the source of the government’s notifications, Section 62(2).
According to Justice Oka, the notifications were based on Section 62(2) of the 2019 Act. Section 62(2) required the Delimitation Commission to readjust constituencies.
Under Section 60 of the 2019 Act, only the Election Commission of India is empowered to conduct the delimitation exercise, according to the petitioners, represented by senior advocate Ravi Shankar Jandhyala, Sriram Parakkat and M.S. Vishnu Shankar. Also, they argued that Article 170 of the Constitution prohibited the delimitation exercise based on the 2011 census.
According to the petitioners, Sections 60 and 61 of the 2019 Act, which defines the role of the Election Commission in constituency delimitation, are in conflict with Section 62.
According to the petition, if August 5, 2019, was to unite Jammu and Kashmir with India, then the delimitation process had defeated the “new order” of “One Nation One Constitution”.
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