With the de-operationalisation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India all the provisions of the Constitution without any exceptionor modificationbecame applicable to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, later downgraded into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh. Under section 14(3) read with section 60(1) of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 (Act of 2019) 114 seats have been provided for the J&K Legislative Assembly out of which 24 are reserved for the territories which are currently with Pakistan [section 14(4a)]. It is worth noting that under section 14(4)(b) of the Act of 2019 such 24 seats are to be excluded for the purposes of carrying out delimitation of constituencies in the new union territory and therefore the delimitation restricted to 90 seats only.
Law and the precedents in JK
By virtue of 84th Constitution amendment Act 2001,enactedduring the Vajpayee regime, in Article 170 of the Constitution the delimitation of constituencies of all the State Assemblies has been frozen till 2026 when the relevant data of Census 2021 is supposed to be available but the votaries of ‘One Nation and One Law’ chose to make an exception in case of J&K on spurious grounds including the one related to the reservation of seats in the Assembly for STs which could have been settled without reopening the delimitation itself. With a view to bypass the prohibition laid down under Article 170, Article 239 has been applied to J&K under the Act of 2019 which originally has application to the UT of Pondicherry with implications for application of a law notwithstanding being contrary to the Constitution. On the strength of section 62(2) of the Act of 2019 the Delimitation Act 2002 applies to the union territory of J&K and for the purposes of delimitation reference to the population is to be construed as population determined by the 2011 census [section 62(1)(b)]. The population of the erstwhile state in accordance with the 2011 census was 1,25,41,302 and by excluding 2,74,289 as the population of the Ladakh, the population of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir comes down to 1,22,67,013. Article 170(2), for the purposes of delimitation in states prescribes that “each State shallbedivided into territorial constituencies in such manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout the State.” This suggests that as a primary criterion the average population should be the same throughout the constituencies. Given the total number of seats in the legislative Assembly of the union territory (90) and the total population (1,22,67,013), the average population that each constituency must have is 1,36,300. Even though Article 170 does not talk of union territories, but as the highest law of the land, it provides the primary guiding principle governing the delimitation law i.e. population is to act as the principal factor for delimitation of constituencies.
The “other factors’’ that are to be employed for delimitation are contained in section 60(2) of the Act of 2019 namely “(a) all the constituencies shall be single-member constituencies; (b) all constituencies shall, as far as practicable, be geographically compact areas, and in delimiting them, regard shall be had to physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and conveniences to the public; and (c) constituencies in which seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall, as far as practicable, be located in areas where the proportion of their population to the total population is the largest.” Sub-clauses (b) and (c) are important.Sub-clause (b) mandates that the delimited constituencies based on population must be geographically compact areas, and while delimiting them, factors such as physical features, boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and public conveniences are to be taken into consideration. Sub-clause (c) is self-explanatory.
The non-involvement by the political parties or at least by other social activists in the matters connected with the proceedings of the DC shall be self-defeating as its outcome is beyond the scope for challenging in the Courts.with grapevine suggesting the creation of the Election Commission in JK on the analogy of the position in some States & eventual appointment of the existing Election Commissioner, appointed under J&K Panchayat Raj Act 1989, as Election Commissioner replacing the Chief Electoral officer in the DC all the three shall be the persons actually the nominees of the ruling party notwithstanding under the subterfuge of two members being in the DC by virtue of Offices held by them one being the Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of India and other the UT Election Commissioner but appointment of both effectuated post retirement by the central Govttin a partisan process followed for the purpose.
In the delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir legislative Assembly constituencies by the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice KK Gupta in 1995, the number of seats in the legislative assembly was increased from 76 to 87 and dispersal thereof made on the basis of population across the state except in districts of Leh and Kargil where the number of assembly segments was increased from one each to two each on the basis of distinct and unique geographical factors separating the two from rest of the state but despite being constituents of Kashmir Division the relaxed standards stood applied to the areas concerned only and not to the entire Kashmir Division. The concept was further implemented in districts Baramulla (now Bandipora) and Kupwara where new assembly constituencies namely Gurez and Karnah were carved out respectively on the strength of reasons aforementioned. Relevant to mention that ethnically and linguistically the people in the two districts of Leh and Kargil and assembly segments Gurez and Karnah are separate and together with the isolation imposed by geographical conditions resulting in their areas remaining out of bounds for six to eight months from rest of the erstwhile state.
The population as a preponderant factorhas been the hallmark in the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies which is illustrated down below by the number of parliamentary (Lok Sabha) constituencies allotted to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and NCT of New Delhi:
|S. No.||State/UT||No. of parliamentary (Lok Sabha) constituencies||Total Population (2011)||Area (kms)||Average Population per parliamentary constituency||Average area per parliamentary constituency|
|5.||NCT of New Delhi||7||1,67,87,941||1,483||23,98,277||211.85|
In recent years the delimitation was undertaken in the states of Gujarat and Uttarakhand where Patwar Halquas to Revenue sub-divisions as administrative units were broadly adopted without splitting them for delineating the boundaries of Assembly segments on the basis of average population worked out by dividing the state population with the number of Assembly Segments and departures made as exceptions to the general criteria regardless of the size of population wherever the geographical contiguity and other factors in mapping of a Constituency made it apart and distinct from the surrounding areas owing to mountains, river systems and communications impediments.
Known Dogra centric contrarians in Jammu City have already vitiated the environment for dispassionate debates by questioning the veracity of Census 2011 by demanding the factors like number of voters and expanse of area to be adopted as the main criteria for delimitation of Constituencies. These three planks are examined as under:
- Population: As in the past right from 1891, the Census of India 2011 was also undertaken in the States by the Office of the Registrar General India through the Regional Directorates under the supervision and control of the former. The animosity against Muslim population has been the traditional disposition of thriving bigotry but this time around even central government’s institutions are not being spared little realizing about the all-pervading non- existence of Muslims in the hierarchy more so at decision-making rungs in the whole country. Out of 125 lakhpersons listed as State population 6.05 lakh persons have returned such mother tongues as are neither prevalent nor spoken in J&K nor specified as regional languages in the Constitution of erstwhile State.Evidently these persons are employees of GOI or migrant workers or both which is corroborated by the mismatch in their gender break up and incidentally overwhelmingly co-religionists of hate mongers. This Segment of population doesn’t fall in the category of permanent residents of the State and don’t even qualify for domicile status under the new rules in force.The percentage of population by religion for Hindus shall reduce to 24.98 from 28.44 once these non-natives are set apart. Out of these 6.05 lakh persons 32223, 1,65,083 and 4,03,024 are in Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu Divisions respectively with mother tongues like Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Gujarati, Kannada, Konkani,Maithili ,Malayalam,Manipuri Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Santali,Sindi, Tamil ,Telugu, Hindi, Urdu and many more other scheduled and non- scheduled languages. The question raised about this segment of population is best answered in the electoral rolls of the pair districts of Ladakh reflecting as they just 50 (35+15) Hindu voters and not 19,334 @ 60:40 criteria applicable to Hindu population 32,223 figuring in the census of 2011. These persons are obviously non-natives working in the union territory and the same applies pari passu to J&K. However the official Census shall be the basics in various projections and conclusions of this write up but then Who should ring alarm bells about the genuineness of the total population of J&K?
- Voters and their numbers: Generally 35 to 40 % of the total population fall in the age group of 0 to 18 and hence the number of voters not to exceed 60% of the population except in specific categories of people for reasons of life expectancy being beyond 70 and highly lowest rate of infant mortality but the persons above the age of 08 during the Census enumeration becoming eligible for registration as voters by the next phase of the enumeration of following decadal Census doesn’t make substantial difference in the projectionsdue to the rate of deaths, migrations&uneven population growth rates in various communities. While the percentage of voters is 71.29 against the population of 5236348 in Jammu Division; it is 58.33 in Kashmir Division for population of 7023665 and by excluding the persons not speaking such mother tongues as are in J&K the percentage in former grows to 77.23 and in latter 59.73. Individual cases of district of Reasi, Kathua and Jammu depict voter percentage to Census population at 83.75, 79.80 and 71.55 respectively. By excluding 91733 migrants from the population of Jammu District, being registered voters in respective Assembly Constituencies in Kashmir Division, the percentage of voters jumps to 76.11 from 71.55.The uprising like situation accompanied with total apathy of eligible persons for being registered as voters in Greater Kashmir witnessed quite negligible accretion in voter lists from 1986-87 to 2002-03 when quite on heels of Assembly elections 2003 under the subterfuge of voter identity cards the mobile population in the Valley was left with no option except to get enrolled in the Voter lists resulting into the substantial upsurge in the no of voters which continues thereafter but large sections of society still not in mainstream politics has led to shortfalls in the number of voters viz .the population on the analogy of standards at national level about percentage of voters over the population (above 60%). Let the protagonists of ‘foulness’ find the subtext detailed above against the vicious propaganda unleashed by frontal organizations of the Hindutva& answer about the mismatch between the population and no of voters in Dogra Loop of Jammu Division.
Area: J&K is undoubtedly an excellent example of unity in diversity as otherwise its 04 constituent units have nothing in common excepting administrative exigency with origin to the formation of the State way back in 1846.Geographically, ethnically and linguistically being apart from one another excepting commonalities between the Kashmir Valley and Chenab Valley the 04 regions are Jehlum Valley (Kashmir Division), Chenab Valley(outer Hills), Peer Panchal(Jhelum basin) and the sub-mountainousand semi- mountainous tract of Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur and Reasi Sub-Division. Nowhere in the world the quantum of area in itself is the bedrock for apportionment of seats in the legislative bodies and even the position at national level as expatiated elsewhere in the write up does point towards the population as the sole determining factor essentially as it is people who are to be represented in the Assembly and not lifeless immoveable land mass. The law laid down for J&K envisages the population as the determinant pivotal factor for fixing the number of Constituencies for the legislative Assembly and while doing so an area inaccessible, for larger parts of the year due to the geographical factors or isolated owing to canals, effusive and fiercely flowing rivers or highways with vehicular traffic of high density or linguistic majorities as an exception to the ethnic and linguistic background of surrounding areas could be delineated by properly fixing the boundaries for constituting as a separate Constituency whether the criteria for average population arrived at is met with fully or not. The Division or region as a unit is alien to the law of delimitation but by assuming it to be a relevant indices the benefits as outcome of the exercise should percolate down to the area itself. Chenab Valley with population of 924345 spread over the highly mountainous and relatively rugged terrains has on an average 1948.5 Sq kms per Constituency in contrast with Jammu District with 1438225 population(less by migrants) on area to the extent of 3097 Sq kms representing 1.30 lakh population on an average for an average area of 281 Sq kms and it is in this behalf maintained that the benefit of topography and vast inaccessible areas if at all made admissible contrary to the germane of law and rules should go to the area concerned. From another angle of total geographical area and population of Jammu loop from Patnitop to Lakhanpur as a distinct geographical region the average population and area per Constituency in all the 04 districts is 1.39 Lakhs and 452 Sq kms and in Kashmir Division it is 1.52 lakh population and 347 Sq kms respectively. The difference of 5.98 Lakh population favouring Kashmir Valley is off-set by the area factor in Jammu Loop even though contrary to the law but somehow Valleyites having acquiesced with the patent distortion no further comments offered. On the basis of law the benefit for areas attracting the application of ‘’ other factors’ while mapping the Constituencies it is Marwah and Wardwan, Padder and Gool in Chenab Valley qualifying for separate Constituencies as already such dispensation extended to Gurez and Karnah in the districts of Bandipora and Kupwara together with Leh and Kargil districts by Delimitation Commission in 1995 but as the accord of such treatment has to be intra-Districts the same may lead to indefensible outcries in the concerned areas by communities losing even the existing advantages.
Challenges and remedies
Usually the constitutional and statutory bodies at national level and in the States are embodiment of demography but for quite some time now the underlying principle is amiss in favour of the majoritarian mind-set. The Asian/African candidates elected to the legislative bodies in USA and Europe brings joyous momentum to us without appreciating the receptivity of the Political parties in the foreign countries to broad base their political systems by having regard for demography as admittedly it is by dint of local populace the immigrants and their succeeding generations saddle in cozy chambers of respective legislatures. Latest instance is election of Kamla Harris, born in USA of immigrant parents with Jamaican father and Indian mother, as Vice president even as the black population in the Country is around 13.4% only. Incidentally Rahul Ghandi &Priyanka Ghandi born in India of Indian father & Italian mother are not lucky as Kamla is perhaps owing to the civilizational gaps&continue to get dubbed as foreigners by those celebrating electoral success of even persons of Indian origin in foreign countries. India Muslims constitute 14.5% of the total population of the country but their representation in the Lok Sabah has rarely exceeded 4% barring once and resultantly the elected members from the community remain pegged around 15 to 25 as against the due share of about 80. The reason for dismal representation is due to dispersal of Muslim population across the country without a definite territory inhabited by them overwhelmingly. With the same handicaps in foreign countries for the outsiders it is the accommodating political philosophy of the local governments which enables Asians to be leaders in countries not their father or mother lands or sacred insofar as their faiths are concerned. In India to distribute party tickets in conformity with the demographic features would decimate the concerned Party unless its application assumes multi-partisan support. In the sub- continent people believe in hero worship and therefore the credentials of the candidates matter little. The leaders leading the parties are crowd pullers and general electors vote for the candidates as minions of party leadership but denying the mandate to candidates from the minority is portrayed as the biggest achievement easily absorbed by the gullible people. This brings out the difference about the convictions for adherence to respect the demography between white men and the Asian governments.
While constituting the Delimitation Commission (DC) by central Governments, directly ruling the UT of J&K for the last over two years, in the aftermath of 5th August development the nature of the composition should have been re-assuring as the mandate for the new DC concerns Muslim majority UT. In the distraught overtaken people even the transfer of the Chief Electoral Officer following the constitution of the DC has given rise to the conjectures as the commoners are least aware of the ethos of the IAS officers who are supposedly to be guided by the Constitution and rulebooks unless someone may be a rogue or a fanatic unmindful of his/her position bedecked in neutrality and impartiality. In the past almost all Commissions instituted in the erstwhile state were headed by non- Muslims as strong confidence building measures even on occasions the exercises aimed at addressing the problems of the minority community albeit imaginary as invariably established in reports submitted which have gone unrebutted till date. Under these circumstances the DC should be and also seen to be neutral and impartial especially when people have become hopeless and are in dire need of positive vibes to embrace the consequences of lack of such a position can well be grasped.
The dichotomy in the data about migrant population remains unresolved even after Census 2011 which reflects 116750 Kashmiri population outside the State and 91733 and 7203 in the Districts of Jammu and Udhampur the inclusion of limited non- migrant Kashmiri population therein can’t be ruled out. Contrary to the population the number of migrant voters is 93373 only and applying the matrix of 60:40 but higher than the national average due to factors of life expectancy and low infant mortality the migrant population meriting inclusion in the demography of Kashmir Division comes to135190. Since the migrant population is to be included with the population of Kashmir Division for being registered as voters therein the population of said Division shoots up to 7023665 from 6888475 excepting the migrants settled outside the State and not registered as voters in the local Electoral Rolls and the population of Jammu Division gets reduced to 5236348 from 5371538 by excluding the Kashmiri population of Jammu and Udhampur Districts. At the average population of 136300 per Assembly Constituency the Kashmir Division ought to have 51 seats @ 137718and Jammu Division 39 @ 134265.
After the delimitation of the Assembly Constituencies in 1995, the State Governments during the year 2006-07 created 08 new Districts namely Kulgam, Shupyan, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Ramban and Kishtwar, Reasi and Samba out of the Districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Srinagar, Baramulla, Doda, Udhampur and Jammu respectively. There are Assembly Segments falling in more than one district like Homshalibug and Devsar in Anantnag and Kulgam, Sumbul Sonawari in Bandipora- Ganderbal, Chadoora in Budgam and Srinagar, Gool-Arnas in Reasi and Ramban, Ramban in Ramban and Doda, Inderwal in Doda and Kishtwar and Hiranagar in Kathua and Samba. Since the new Districts came into being after marathon meetings and deliberations ever since the report submitted by Wazer Commission in 1983 for rationalisation of the administrative units, it would be advisable to maintain the existing boundaries of the districts by retaining the main Constituencies in the respective Districts and portions falling in nearby Districts to be excluded from the existing Constituencies for adjustments in the Districts to which they currently belong to. However, while proceeding in the manner suggested the Constituencies in new Districts may suffer shortfall viz the average population fixed across the board in the UT which can be overcome notionally by the surpluses in remaining constituencies situated in the natural region / sub-region / areas with historicity. By way of an illustration the population of Kulgam District is 430573 and on the basis of average population @ 136300 fixed for Constituencies it falls short by 111439 in toto for 04 Segments of Noorabad, Kulgam, Homeshalibugh and Devsar falling in the said District which is addressed by the surpluses available in Maraz comprising of Districts Anantnag, Kulgam, Shupyan and Pulwama even after increasing one Assembly Segment in District Anantnag raising the no of Constituencies from 06 to 07 by inclusion of areas from Homshalibug and Devsar otherwise falling in the said District. The population of Maraz is 2380550 and the average population per Constituency works to 140032 for 17 Segments above than UT average of 136300 (16 existing and 01 proposed for Anantnag). In regions like Chenab Valley and Peer Panchal, apart from the population factum the “other factors’’ are singularly applicable provided there are no hiccups as in such a dispensation the apple- cart merchandised as a dream shall come to a grinding halt.
Possibilities as a way out
The delimitation should be intra-districts except where inevitable like in respect of Rajouri and Punch Districts and number of existing Assembly Segments not to be disturbed and wherever shortfalls viz the average population per Constituency fixed are considerably higher the surpluses made use of from adjoining Constituencies in the natural region or homogeneous areas locally designated as separate areas.
The Sikh community with Population of 234848 is spread throughout the UT without any prospect for getting elected unless Political parties sponsor a candidate from the community and to overcome the baffling problem areas around Nanak Nagar in Jammu District could be carved out for the purpose although the composition of the electorate in the said area shall continue to be multi- linguistic. Similarly the population of Pandits ought to be around 03 lakhs @ 5% of the Valley population as has been the scenario right from Census 1901 but on the strength of persons registered as voters their population doesn’t seem to exceed 135190 in the 10 Districts and the remaining may have left the State/UT for good or are disinclined to participate in electoral processes back home due to cumbersome procedures for registering themselves as voters .To lend meaning to the continued registration of migrants as voters in the Valley the Assembly Segment Habakadal need be broad based by providing options to them to register as voters in the said constituency. But the argument is bound to boomerang in rest of the country where Muslims in UP with 20% population don’t get 90 berths in the State Legislative Assembly but a paltry no of 10 to 15. The State of affairs in Lok Sabah and other states is not different in any manner. A solitary example in Sikkim where sans territory one seat in the Legislative Assembly has been reserved for 2900 monks as electors but this legislative aberration can’t be generalised in view of the far serious consequences on the body Polity of the country.
Even as the distribution of 90 seats on average population of 136300 per Constituency between the two administrative Divisions in the ratio of 51+:39- shall be perfectly lawful&factual but special geographical features of the Chenab Valley ,Peer Panchal& Udhampur call for mutual accommodation amongst all the stakeholders of the 04 natural regions and therefore the entitlement between the two administrative Divisions of Kashmir and Jammu could be 50:40 @ 140472 & 130908 populationrespectively. The district wise Status on the basis of population could be as under:-
|District||Population||Existing no of seats||Addition||Average population|
1( 8+1)= 9
☆Inter- District Punch & Rajouri average is 158945
Analysis and Conclusions
With the availability of all its Patwar Halquas from Devsar and Homshalibug Segments otherwise falling in District Anantnag their adjustment with adjoining Assembly Constituencies of Bighbarah, Anantnag and Doru is necessitated leading to carving out a new Constituency by splitting Anantnag into 02 with nomenclature of Anantnag South and Anantnag North. As a result of considerable area from Chadoora falling in District Srinagar the rejig in territorial limits of Sonuer, Amerakadal and Bathmaloo etc shall sprang into emergence of the 9th Constituency and in the same manner by extrapolation of respective areas from Srinagar, Budgam and Baramulla the 6 the Constituency shall become a reality for Budgam Districts. The two parallel sides along the major transit corridor of Kupwara halves the said Constituency into two sections and accordingly the new Constituency of Kralgund emerges with inclusions and exclusions from nearby contiguous other Assembly Segments. Doda with existing 02nd Constituencies is a ripe case for accretion of a 3rd one by intra-District territorial adjustments and this shall apply mutatis mutandis to Udhampur Districts. As the twin Districts of Punch and Rajouri in Peer Panchal region are bastions of Pahari and Gujjar communities and in the backdrop of not less than 04 Assembly Segments in the region getting reserved for Gujjar and other tribals already notified as schedule tribes the creation of an inter-Districts constituency is called for, as an exception to the main principle on the grounds of the magnitude of surplus population and rugged terrains surrounded by lofty cliffts, in northern and southern areas of Bafilyaz encompassing the two Districts which would also be a respite for non- ST population of about 62% to contest elections in the remaining 04 Segments. The proposed apportionment of seats shall largely satisfy all competing interests primarily owing to the compliance with law. At macro level the share of Muslims and Hindus from out of 90 seats ought to be 63 and 25 respectively but the spread of population and concession proposed from Valley makes it 62 and 25 and remaining 03 susceptible to electoral upsets at the hustings. After excluding the Kashmiri migrant population the Hindus and Muslims Constitute 61.93 % and 34% respectively of the total population of Jammu Division and the number of seats each of the two communities on the basis of Constituency wise demography from out of the 40 shall be 25 against 24 and 12 against 13.5 with 03 enjoying wafer thin edges and can slip from either community depending upon the political discourse during the campaigns for elections. The Sikhs population in Jammu Division is 176635 and those of Pandits by reference to the electoral rolls 1305190 in Kashmir Division and being spread across the Constituencies in the respective Divisions can’t by themselves elect candidates from their communities. The Political Parties as a matter of convention would do well by fielding Candidates from Sikhs and Pandits from Ghandinagar and Habakadal. In principle the religious orientation to the delimitation and the elected candidates is antithesis to the Constitution stipulating India as a secular country but realities especially those engulfing the country in recent past can’t be pushed under the rugs where denying mandate to the largest minority in national and State elections is by itself a momentous measure goading the gullible electorate in favour of divisive and hate mongers.
The participation by regional Parties in tier 3rd of the de-centralised Planning & Development hierarchy is undoubtedly sans impact on their disapproval of the unconstitutional, illegal and non-transparent measures of the Govt of India taken on August 5, 2019 which also holds true for pleading before the DC for just apportionment of the 07 additional seats in conformity with law laid down by the Parliament.
Earmarking of ST constituencies
Out of 12.75 lakh ST population the Gojer are 11.35 lakhs and the remaining are Gadhi, Shena and others. The existing assembly constituencies with more than 10% of ST population are Gurez 81.84, Darhal 48.39, Kalakot 46.09, Mendhar 39. 69, Punch Haveli 38.32, Rajouri 37.64, Surankot 33.50, Gulab-garh 37.26, Kangan 32.58, Gool-Arnas 29.14, Kokernag 27 Nagrota 25.78 Bani 24.5, Inderwal 23, Gulmarg 22.65, Pahalgam 18.5, Chenani 16.66, Reasi 16,. Shupyan 16, Noorabad 16.5, Ramban 14.53, Bhaderwah 14.17, Lolab 13, Nowshera 11.36, Karnah 11, and Shangaus 10.75.The allocable no of Constituencies for ST @ 10 % of the total population from out of 90 Assembly segments works out to 09 and sheer size of ST population in each constituency would result in 3 each from Punch and Rajouri Districts, 01 each from Ganderbal and Reasi Districts and 01 from Bandipora but having regard to the spread of population across the State, the 02 Divisions and the 20 Districts instead of 03 each from Punch and Rajouri it could be 02 each only and the 02 becoming available @ 01 each earmarked on the basis of intra-Division position about political empowerment and geographical features of the ST concentrated habitations meriting Bani in Kathua and Kokernag in Anantnag Districts. The proposed distribution comports with the Division and region wise spread of ST population in the UT and the suggested apportionment based on law, precedents in the UT and in rest of the Country for State Assemblies including the Lok Sabah may result in increase and decrease in the population of STs in some Assembly Segments but is unlikely to alter the profile of most of them. However the operational impact of reservations in the Assembly for ST communities provides an occasion for those refusing to come out of the cocoon of ethnicity, virtually apartheid practiced in Peer Panchal, for extraneous reasons as it is ST vote Bank which shall be divisible amongst the contesting only ST candidates in the changed electoral system and non- STs largely to decide the outcome at the hustings. The all-embracing outreach of Community leaders like Haji Buland Khan and Choudhury Mohammad Hussain initially their fulcrum from 1975 to 2002 need be emulated which in recent years has been exemplified by Mia Altaf in Kangan where the debates during the campaigns were on all contemporary subjects excepting linguistic profiles of the leaders and their supporters/ contesting candidates.
Delimitation of Parliamentary (Lok Sabha) constituencies
The five parliamentary constituencies in the union territory should broadly be retained in the form they are at present. However, in case the delimitation is inevitable in order to bring about uniformity in the population per parliamentary constituency and to earmark a constituency by reservation for Scheduled Tribes, it is proposed as under.
- Each of the five parliamentary constituencies should invariably have a population of more than 20 Lacs (based on the formula: population/no. of constituencies) At present, the population of Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag, Udhampur and Jammu parliamentary constituencies is 22, 96825/-, 2343020/-, 23,80820/-, 2403229/- and 2876373 respectively.
- A tribal parliamentary constituency comprising of districts Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi, and Udhampur should be propose1232878 the existing parliamentary constituency Jammu to comprise of districts Jammu, Samba and Kathua.
- The three Chenab Valley districts should be included in the parliamentary constituency Anantnag and four legislative assembly constituencies of district Pulwama excluded from Anantnag parliamentary constituency for inclusion in parliamentary constituency Srinagar. Further, two legislative assembly constituencies of district Ganderbal to be included in parliamentary constituency Baramulla.
- The total population of such new parliamentary constituencies will be as under:-
|S. No.||Parliamentary Constituency||Districts comprising such parliamentary constituency||Population in the new parliamentary constituencies|
|1.||Srinagar||Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama||2612314|
|2.||Anantnag||Anantnag, Kulgam, Shupyan, Ramban, Doda, Kishtwar||2735425|
|3.||Baramulla||Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Ganderbal||2597271|
|4.||Jammu||Jammu, Samba, Kathua||2373558|
|5.||Udhampur (Tribal constituency)||Udhampur, Punch, Rajouri, Reasi||1988902|
The non-involvement by the political parties or at least by other social activists in the matters connected with the proceedings of the DC shall be self-defeating as its outcome is beyond the scope for challenging in the Courts. With grapevine suggesting the creation of the Election Commission in JK on the analogy of the position in some States & eventual appointment of the existing Election Commissioner, appointed under J&K Panchayat Raj Act 1989, as Election Commissioner replacing the Chief Electoral officer in the DC all the three shall be the persons actually the nominees of the ruling party notwithstanding under the subterfuge of two members being in the DC by virtue of Offices held by them one being the Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of India and other the UT Election Commissioner but appointment of both effectuated post retirement by the central Govttin a partisan process followed for the purpose. The participation by regional Parties in tier 3rd of the de-centralised Planning &Development hierarchy is undoubtedly sans impact on their disapproval of the unconstitutional, illegal and non-transparent measures of the Govt of India taken on August 5, 2019 which also holds true for pleading before the DC for just apportionment of the 07 additional seats in conformity with law laid down by the Parliament.
(The author is IAS (Retd) officer and former Chairman J&K Public Service Commission. Views are exclusively his own) [email protected]