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  • 03 December, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Delimitation exercise of J&K

Delimitation exercise of J&K

The Supreme Court recently questioned petitioners about their decision not to challenge the constitutionality of a specific provision in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.

More on the news:

  • A provision in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which gives the Delimitation Commission the authority to "carry out" the re-adjustment of constituencies in the Union Territory formed after the repeal of Article 370 in the erstwhile State, was in question.

Who has the authority to conduct delimitation?

  • The petitioners claimed that Sections 60 and 61 of the 2019 Act, which defined the role of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in constituency delimitation, were in conflict with Section 62.
  • The petitioners contended that only the ECI was authorized to conduct the delimitation exercise under Section 60 of the J&K Reorganisation Act.
  • Census is being considered:
  • They also argued before the Bench that Article 170 of the Constitution prohibited delimitation based on the 2011 census.
  • It had to happen on the basis of the 2001 census or wait until the first census after 2026.

The government's reaction:

  • The government has responded by stating that there are two alternative mechanisms for delimitation of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • While Sections 60-61 granted the ECI the authority to determine delimitation, Sections 62(2) and 62(3) granted the Delimitation Commission the authority to carry out delimitation.

Regarding the Delimitation of J&K

  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing the boundaries of an Assembly or Lok Sabha seat to reflect changes in population over time.
  • The role of the Delimitation Commission: This exercise is carried out by a Delimitation Commission, whose orders have legal force and cannot be challenged in court.

J&K Delimitation Exercises:

Prior to the J&K Reorganization Act:

  • The former J&K state had 111 seats.
  • There are 46 seats in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu, and four in Ladakh, plus 24 reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
  • When Ladakh was established as a Union Territory, J&K was left with 107 seats, including the 24 for the People's Republic of Kashmir.
  • The Reorganisation Act increased the number of seats to 114, with 90 reserved for Jammu and Kashmir in addition to the 24 reserved for PoK.
  • The delimitation of parliamentary constituencies in the former state was governed by the Indian Constitution, while that of Assembly seats was carried out by the then-state government under the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.
  • Following the enactment of the J&K Reorganization Act, the delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in the newly created Union Territory would be in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
  • On March 6, 2020, the government established the Delimitation Commission, led by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, with the goal of completing delimitation in J&K within a year.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill proposes increasing the number of Assembly seats in J&K from 107 to 114, which is expected to benefit the Jammu region.

Delimitation Commission Recommendation for J&K:

  • Redrawing of constituencies: The Delimitation Commission has recommended seven additional constituencies:
  • 6 for Jammu
  • 1 for Kashmir
  • Jammu Division will now have 43 seats, up from 37 previously, and Kashmir Valley will have 47 seats, up from 46 previously.

Major Recommendations:

  • Reorganization of Parliamentary constituencies so that each Lok Sabha seat has 18 Assembly constituencies, bringing the total number of assembly constituencies to 90.
  • Reservation of nine Assembly seats for Scheduled Tribes, six in Jammu and three in Kashmir.
  • Eliminating the regional distinction between Jammu and Kashmir and treating it as a single entity.
  • Anantnag in Kashmir has been merged with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu to form Anantnag-Rajouri as a single Parliamentary constituency.
  • Kashmiri Migrants: The Commission has recommended that at least two members of the Kashmiri Migrant (Kashmiri Hindu) community be appointed to the Legislative Assembly.
  • It has also suggested that the Centre consider giving displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir who migrated to Jammu after Partition representation in the J&K Legislative Assembly.
  • Tribes Scheduled: The Commission has set aside nine Assembly seats for Scheduled Tribes. Six of these are in the Anantnag parliamentary constituency, including Poonch and Rajouri, which have the highest ST population.

About Delimitation Commission:

  • The Delimitation Commission in India is a powerful body whose decisions have legal force.
  • Its orders are not subject to challenge in any court.
  • These orders will take effect on a date to be determined by the President of India.
  • Copies of its orders are laid before the House of the People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no changes are permitted.

Provisions of the Constitution:

  • Article 82: This gives Parliament the authority to pass a Delimitation Act following each Census.
  • Article 170: After each census, the states are divided into territorial constituencies based on the Delimitation Act.


  • To determine the number and boundaries of constituencies in such a way that, to the greatest extent possible, the population of all seats is the same.
  • Identifying seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in areas with a large population.
  • When members of the Commission disagree, the will of the majority takes precedence.


  • The President of India appoints the following members to the Delimitation Commission:
  • Former Supreme Court justice
  • Chief Electoral Officer
  • State Election Commissioners

Source: The Hindu

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