The Supreme Court reserved its judgement on a plea challenging the government’s decision to constitute the delimitation commission for redrawing the assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The plea was filed on the pretext of breach of constitutional provisions.
A bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul reserved the judgement hearing all the parties in the case. The Centre and Election Commission of India (ECI) have defended the decision to conduct the delimitation exercise which extended the number of assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir.
Two residents Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Dr Mohammad Ayub Mattoo hailing from Srinagar moved a plea in the Supreme Court stating that this delimitation exercise was carried out contrary to the scheme of the constitution, and alteration of boundaries and inclusion of extended areas could not be done.
The plea sought a declaration that the increase in the number of seats from 107 to 114 (including 24 seats in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) in Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires the Constitutional Provisions such as Articles 81, 82, 170, 330, and 332 and Statutory Provisions, particularly under Section 63 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
The plea said that the last Delimitation Commission was set up on July 12, 2002, in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002, after the 2001 Census to carry out the exercise throughout the country and the commission had issued guidelines and methodology for the Delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies vide letter dated July 5, 2004, along with the Constitutional and Legal Provisions.