GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Political leaders participating in the delimitation process in J&K as well as independent observers have raised fears of “islands” being formed.
What’s the issue?
The Delimitation Act, 2002 says that apart from population, the constituencies have to be geographically compact areas and contiguous. Observers say this principle is not being followed in the ongoing Delimitation exercise.
- For example, a village in one tehsil would be completely surrounded by villages in another Tehsil. Geographical connectedness is not being considered here. This gives rise to the voter islands.
- It is being said that the Commission “has carved out geographical islands and joined with the other Assembly segments without any proximity or connectivity”.
Delimitation exercise in J&K- a timeline:
- The first delimitation exercise, carving out 25 assembly constituencies in the then state, was carried out by a Delimitation Committee in 1951.
- The first full-fledged Delimitation Commission was formed in 1981 and it submitted its recommendations in 1995 on the basis of 1981 Census. Since then, there has been no delimitation.
- In 2020, the Delimitation Commission was constituted to carry out the exercise on the basis of 2011 Census, with a mandate to add seven more seats to the Union Territory’ and grant reservations to SC and ST communities.
- Now, the total number of seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be raised to 90 from the previous 83. This is apart from 24 seats which have been reserved for areas of PoK and have to be kept vacant in the Assembly.
What is delimitation and why is it needed?
The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir was constituted by the Centre on March 6 last year to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the union territory in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 and Delimitation Act, 2002, passed by the Centre in August 2019 along with other J&K-specific Bills.
What is Delimitation?
Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.
Who carries out the exercise?
- Delimitation is undertaken by a highly powerful commission. They are formally known as Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission.
- These bodies are so powerful that its orders have the force of law and they cannot be challenged before any court.
Did you know that prior to August 5, 2019, carving out of J&K’s Assembly seats was carried out under the J&K Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957?
- Previous delimitation commissions- powers and functions.
- Composition of the commission.
- Who can set up?
- Are changes allowed in final orders?
- Which are the constitution provisions related?
How and why delimitation of constituencies is carried out? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.