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What is the controversy around the revision of electoral rolls in J&K?

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Source: The Hindu

Directions: Kee a note on ECI, delimitation commission and voting rights.

Context:  As per the J&K Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), anyone “who is living ordinarily in J&K” can avail of the opportunity to get enlisted as a voter in the Union Territory. Previously, only ‘Permanent Residents’ were eligible to vote.

 

Who else is eligible to vote?

      • Voting right for armed forces: The armed forces posted in J&K could register as voters and may participate in the first-ever Assembly polls in the UT.
      • Delimited assemblies: Existing electoral roll is being mapped into the newly delimited Assembly constituencies as per the Delimitation Commission’s final order ( effective from May 20, 2022).

 

Why are electoral rolls being revised?

      • New Delimitation: Fresh electoral rolls in J&K were required after J&K Delimitation Commission carved out seven new Assembly constituencies in the UT (6 in Jammu and one in Kashmir)
            • This was done under the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act adopted in 2019. Jammu now has 43 assembly constituency seats against 47 in Kashmir.
      • The ECI has decided that it will also include any person who has attained the age of 18 years on or before October 1, 2022, in the fresh electoral rolls.

 

What did the CEO announce?

      • No need for a domicile: There is no need for a person to have a domicile certificate of J&K to become a voter.
          • An employee, a student, a labourer or anyone from outside who is living ordinarily in J&K can enlist his or her name in the voting list
      • Option for armed forces: Armed forces from different parts of the country “have the option that if they are posted in a peace station they can enlist themselves as voters.
      • New voters: Around 25 lakh new voters are expected to be enrolled in J&K, which has 76 lakh voters on the list.
          • The projected 18-plus population of J&K was around 98 lakh.
      • After the abrogation of special provisions of Article 370, the Representation of the People Act 1950 and 1951 is applicable in J&K.

 

Previously, those ‘ordinarily residing ‘ in J&K were eligible to vote only in the parliamentary election (as Non-Permanent Resident (NPR). This included West Pakistan refugees living in J&K since 1947.

 

Insta Links:

ECI

 

Mains links:

Mandate and functions of ECI, RPA, Delimitation Commission, and De-freezing of constituency after 2026 (esp. those giving Mains this time) are important for both prelims and Mains

Q. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (UPSC 2018)

 

Prelims link:

Mandate and functions of ECI, RPA, and Delimitation Commission are important for both prelims and Mains

      1. Consider the following statements:
      1. As per the delimitation Commission in UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu now has 47 seats against 43 in Kashmir.
      2. There is no need for a person to have a domicile certificate from J&K to become a voter.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Justification:

Refer to the article above