Delimitation Commission’s report on J-K final, says MHA

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Srinagar: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has maintained that order of the Delimitation Commission on Jammu and Kashmir, wherein it redrew 90 assembly constituencies, has become final after publication in the gazette and that it can’t be challenged legally at this stage, reported Daily Excelsior.

In a report, the Jammu-based newspaper cited the MHA affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court in response to a petition filed by a Srinagar resident, Haji Abdul Gani Khan, through Advocate Sriram P.

The petition questioned legality of the delimitation exercise carried out in Jammu and Kashmir by a panel headed by Supreme Court’s retired Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai lasting more than two years.

The MHA affidavit said the Delimitation Act of 2002 states that once the Commission’s orders are published in the Union Gazette and take effect, no legal process can be initiated to challenge their validity or correctness.

“Section 10(2) of the Delimitation Act, 2002 bars the challenge to the orders of the Delimitation Commission once they are published in the Gazette of India,” the Daily Excelsior quoted affidavit noting.

Seeking dismissal of Khan’s petition, the MHA affidavit said if the prayers of the current petition are allowed, it would lead to an anomalous situation as orders of the Commission would be rendered infructuous.

The Central Government argued that the 2019 Act provides for two alternative mechanisms to carry out delimitation for the UT of J-K – first, by the EC, and second, by the Delimitation Commission, and that there was no legal bar to setting up a Commission in 2020 to redraw constituencies in J-K following the dissolution of the 2002 Delimitation Commission.

The Supreme Court will again hear the case on 29 September.

On 30 August, the Supreme Court summoned the Centre for failing to respond to Khan’s petition on time and gave it a week to do so. On 13 May, the court issued notices to the Centre, the J-K administration, and the EC.

After the delimitation, out of seven increased seats, the Commission allocated six to Jammu division and one to Kashmir valley.

The Commission also reserved nine seats for Scheduled Tribes and seven for Scheduled Castes in the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.

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