Wed, 25 May 2022

New Delhi [India], May 13 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre, Jammu and Kashmir administration, and Election Commission of India (ECI) on a plea challenging the government's decision to constitute the delimitation commission for redrawing the assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the Union Territory.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh sought responses from the Centre, Election Commission of India and the Union Territory within six weeks.

The apex court posted the matter for further hearing on August 30.

The order of the apex court came on two Srinagar residents Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Dr. Mohammad Ayub Mattoo saying that contrary to the scheme of the Constitution, this delimitation exercise was carried out and alteration of boundaries and inclusion of extended areas could not be done.

The bench asked the counsel of petitioners why have they not challenged the formation of the commission itself and do they challenge the abrogation of Article 370 also.

The counsel who was making objectionable submissions, was told by the bench to choose his words properly and said that "Kashmir was always part of India and just a special provision was removed".

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that delimitation can be conducted only by the Election Commission of India and not the delimitation commission.

The challenge is about the delimitation pursuant to the notifications of March 6, 2020, and March 3, 2021.

The plea sought declaration that the increase in the number of seats from 107 to 114 (including 24 seats in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) in Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires the Constitutional Provisions such as Articles 81, 82, 170, 330, and 332 and Statutory Provisions, particularly under Section 63 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

It said that while Article 170 of the Constitution of India provides that the next delimitation in the country will be taken up after 2026 then why has the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir been singled out.

The plea said that the last Delimitation Commission was set up on July 12, 2002, in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002, after the 2001 Census to carry out the exercise throughout the country and the commission had issued guidelines and methodology for the Delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies vide letter dated July 5, 2004, along with the Constitutional and Legal Provisions.

It sought to declare the notification dated March 6, 2020, constituting the delimitation commission to take up delimitation in the UT of JK and states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland by the Centre and consequential omission of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland from the process of delimitation vide., notification dated March 3, 2021, and conducting delimitation only for Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is unconstitutional as it amounts to classification and violates Article 14. (ANI)

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