STATE TIMES NEWSNEW DELHI: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has named Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra as his nominee for the proposed Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir. A Commission spokesperson said following a request from the government, Arora named Chandra as his nominee for the proposed commission. Before Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act in August last year, the effective strength of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was 87 including four seats falling in Ladakh region which is now a separate UT without a legislature. Twenty-four seats of the Assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). “…the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114, and delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission in the manner hereinafter provided,” according to the J-K Reorganisation Act, 2019. The law also said the Lok Sabha will have five seats from the UT of J-K, while Ladakh will have one seat “On and from the appointed day, there shall be allocated five seats to the successor UT of J-K and one seat to UT of Ladakh, in the House of the People, and the First Schedule to the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (43 of 1950) shall be deemed to be amended accordingly,” it said. Article 170 of the Constitution deals with delimitation of constituencies for state legislative assemblies. They were extended to Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. According to Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly were increased from 107 to 114 with due reservations for SC and STs. This also includes 24 seats reserved for Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir. In 2002, the then National Conference government in the state amended the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act 1957 and Section 47(3) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, freezing delimitation of the state’s constituencies. The delimitation exercise was last conducted in J&K in 1995-96, said the official cited earlier. Before August 5, J&K had a separate Constitution and delimitation was conducted as per Sections 47 and 141 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. The state constitution has now become infructuous. Delimitation is the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province with a legislative body. The Jammu based poliitcal parties have been pitching for delimitation of constituencies, as they feel that Jammu gets neglected when when it comes to political representation, allocation of central funds, education and employment opportunities. The demand in this regard has turned quite feverish in the past and ended with street protests.
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