From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Delimitation of constituencies
Mains level : Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir
The J&K Delimitation Commission is likely to get a second extension of its term this month.
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 a change in the number of seats in a state.
Delimitation in J&K
- Assembly seats in J&K were delimited in 1963, 1973 and 1995.
- Prior to August 5, 2019, carving out of J&K’s Assembly seats was carried out under the J&K Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.
- Until then, the delimitation of Lok Sabha seats in J&K was governed by the Constitution of India.
- However, the delimitation of the state’s Assembly was governed by the J&K Constitution and J&K Representation of the People Act, 1957.
- There was no census in the state in 1991 and hence no Delimitation Commission was set up by the state until 2001 census.
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.
Factors considered during Delimitation
- The number of districts had increased from 12 to 20 and tehsils from 52 to 207 since the last delimitation.
- The population density ranged from 29 persons a square km in Kishtwar to 3,436 persons a square km in Srinagar.
- The remoteness of the place, inaccessibility etc are also considered during the exercise.
Concerns raised over Delimitation
- Jammu vs. Kashmir: Concerns had been expressed over how the delimitation process may end up favoring the Jammu region over Kashmir in terms of the seats.
- Under-representation of Ladakh: Arguments have been made on how Ladakh has been underrepresented, with demands for statehood/sixth schedule.
- Non-proportionate reservations: It is argued that seats for STs should’ve been divided in both Jammu province & Kashmir province, as the ST population is almost equal.
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
Post your answers here: