The court dismissed petitions that challenged the delimitation commission set up for redrawing the constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir after it was bifurcated
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a challenge to the Delimitation Commission that has redrawn the constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir in a way that the opposition alleges favours the BJP.
The court dismissed petitions that challenged the delimitation commission set up for redrawing the assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir after it was bifurcated and downgraded into two Union Territories in 2019, when its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was scrapped.
The petitioners, Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Muhammad Ayub Matto from Srinagar, said the commission was constitutionally not valid as there is a bar on redrawing or delimitation anywhere in the country before 2026.
They argued that the constituencies across India were fixed on the basis of the 1971 Census and that should remain unchanged until the first census after 2026.
However, the government said the Delimitation Commission was part of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act passed in parliament in 2019 after the Centre decided to abrogate Article 370.
The panel completed delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir in May last year and revised 90 assembly and five parliamentary constituencies.
The new Jammu and Kashmir assembly has 114 seats. Twenty-four seats are assigned to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and voting will take place for 90 seats – 43 in the Jammu region and 47 seats in the Kashmir Valley. The Delimitation Commission has recommended that PoJK (Pak-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir) refugees and two Kashmiri migrants be nominated to the assembly.
Following the changes, the Election Commission started revising the electoral rolls for Jammu and Kashmir, where elections are due after the region was placed under President’s Rule in 2018.
The BJP has strongly denied opposition allegations of pushing for the redrawing of constituencies to enable its victory in the election.