From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Delimitation of constituencies
Mains level : Jammu and Kashmir after reorganization
The Union government’s invitation to 14 key political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for a meeting with the PM has led to speculation about the possible scheduling of the Assembly elections. However, the delimitation of constituencies is crucial for kick-starting any political process in J&K.
What is Delimitation and why is it needed?
- Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of an Assembly or Lok Sabha seat to represent changes in population over time.
- This exercise is carried out by a Delimitation Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be questioned before any court.
- The objective is to redraw boundaries (based on the data of the last Census) in a way so that the population of all seats, as far as practicable, be the same throughout the State.
- Aside from changing the limits of a constituency, the process may result in change in the number of seats in a state.
Do not forget to answer this PYQ in the comment box:
Q.With reference to the Delimitation Commission, consider the following statements:
- The orders of the Delimitation Commission cannot be challenged in a Court of Law.
- When the orders of the Delimitation Commission are laid before the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly, they cannot affect any modifications in the orders.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
How often has delimitation been carried out in J&K?
- Delimitation exercises in J&K in the past have been slightly different from those in the rest of the country because of the region’s special status — which was scrapped by the Centre in August 2019.
- Until then, the delimitation of Lok Sabha seats in J&K was governed by the Constitution of India, but the delimitation of the state’s Assembly was governed by the J&K Constitution and J&K Representation of the People Act, 1957.
- Assembly seats in J&K were delimited in 1963, 1973 and 1995.
- The last exercise was conducted by the Justice (retired) K K Gupta Commission when the state was under President’s Rule and was based on the 1981 census, which formed the basis of the state elections in 1996.
- There was no census in the state in 1991 and no Delimitation Commission was set up by the state government after the 2001 census as the J&K Assembly passed a law putting a freeze until 2026.
Why is it in the news again?
- After the abrogation of J&K’s special status in 2019, the delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in the newly-created UT would be as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
- On March 6, 2020, the government set up the Delimitation Commission, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, which was tasked with winding up delimitation in J&K in a year.
- As per the J&K Reorganization Bill, the number of Assembly seats in J&K would increase from 107 to 114, which is expected to benefit the Jammu region.
What is the status of this 2020 Delimitation?
- Although the Commission was tasked to finish delimitation in a year, on March 4 this year, it was granted a year’s extension.
- This was done at the request of the panel members since it couldn’t make much progress due to the Covid-19-induced shutdown across the country.