October 24, 2020

DDC elections: A blow to institutional democratization

Elections for the proposed district development councils in each district is virtually an abortive bid to demolish institutional representation and democratization in Jammu & Kashmir as the idea of giving 14 DDC constituencies to each district is against the principle of proportional representation.  While the proposed constituencies for DDCs have not  been established in any other state or union territory of the country, the motive of establishing such institutions is obviously tantamount to deny people of Jammu & Kashmir the right to legislate their own matters through an elected assembly and also to defer the process of establishing an assembly the only powerful institution of legislation in any state or union territory of the country. Granting just one day time to people for filing objections  against the proposals put in place for creation of  constituencies for establishing DDCs in the districts  is a new norm in the history of democracy and rather a crude joke as usually 21 days have to be given to people for filing objections over the creation of constituencies for DDC elections and this is the minimum time limit proposed for carrying out any democratic exercise. Even for issuing a duplicate certificate or duplicate passport  the minimum time to granted for filing objections is not less than a week and the intent of giving just one day time for filing objections shows that government plans to impose decisions of it’s own whims and wishes over the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Can government tell us what is the time limit for filing nominations, receiving objection and announcement of the final list of candidates for any election conducted by the Election Commission of India (ECI) ? Though the approval of the political parties to the proposition of creating constituencies for establishing DDCs in the districts is must but the government is sidelining all the political parties just to impose decisions of it’s own whims and wishes over the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

Even the 73rd constitutional amendment act governing the institutional and administrative working of the panchayat bodies does not propose the constitution of  district development councils in any state or union territory and as such question can be asked that if the idea of withdrawal of special status to Jammu & Kashmir was to extend all central laws to both Jammu & Kashmir and Ladhak, how come the government discriminately applies one law in Jammu & Kashmir and other one in rest of the country and Ladhak.

Above all the government can’t uniformly create 14 constituencies for district development councils in each and every district  as the no of constituencies to be established in districts have to be necessarily proportionate to population of the concerned districts keeping in view the fact that population wise Anantnag is a bigger district in comparison to Shopian and Pulwama  and Baramulla is a bigger district in comparison to Kupwara and Bandipora. More over the physical position of areas in any constituency of any district development council has to be physically as much convenient to the people as it is for them in the assembly constituencies of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir assembly .  Even the 73rd constitutional amendment act governing the institutional and administrative working of the panchayat bodies does not propose the constitution of  district development councils in any state or union territory and as such question can be asked that if the idea of withdrawal of special status to Jammu & Kashmir was to extend all central laws to both Jammu & Kashmir and Ladhak, how come the government discriminately applies one law in Jammu & Kashmir and other one in rest of the country and Ladhak.

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