A A Latief u Zaman Deva

A A Latief u zaman Deva

Vital questions unaddressed in the Press release of Delimitation Commission(DC).The fountainhead for the delimitation of Assembly Constituen cies is Article 170(2) of the Constitution of India which provides that ” each State shall be divided into territorial constituencies in such manner that the ratio between the population of each Constituency and the number of seats allotted to it shall, as for as practical, be the same throughout the State”.

Since there is no reference to union territories, as at the time of enactment of the Constitution the UTs were not having legislative Assemblies, therefore the Article as primary criterion shall mutatis mutandis apply to delimitation of Assembly Constituencies in UTs as well moreso in case of J&K having been a country for about 4000 years ( Kashmir and its tribute paying neighbourhood) & Reyasat ruled for about 1000 years from Dehli & other places of India, Lahore & Kabul before 1947 but downgraded & split into two UTs on 5th August 2019.In accordance with constitutional provisions each Assembly Segment in JK should on normative basis have 136300 population.

The ”other factors” employed in Sec 60(2) of the J&K Reorganization Act 2019 supplies meaning & content to ”as for as practical” appearing in Article 170(2). This Article is the general rule and allowance provided in Sec 62(2) is an exception. The outcome is that while delimiting the boundaries of the Constituencies the factor of average population based on preceding Census (2011) shall apply but to be relaxed in cases amenable to ”other factors” primarily the geographical features making them apart from the surrounding and contiguous areas/regions.The DC of 1995 adopted this principle by carving out the Assembly Constituencies of Gurez, Karnah, Gool Arnas and Gulab Garh regardless of the population factor & this time around it is the turn of Marwah Wardwan, Padder and Gool. The parameters laid down by DC are dilution of constitution and statutory law e.g How come the population as primary factor be relegated to the margins by accounting for it just @ 10%+/-?.Distt Samba, a central place of industrial triangle in JK, with 914 Sq kms area & population of 3.18 lakhs has been accorded 01 more Seat (2+1=3) and therefore average population per Constituency in the Distt shall be 1.06 lakhs on area measuring 304+ Sq kms while Distt Punch having 1674 Sq kms area, mostly mountainous & inaccessible in portions falling around line of actual control and population of 4.76 lakhs denied the accretion of atleast 01 Segment which could have seen the Distt with 04 Segments @ 1.19 lakh population & area of 418+ Sq kms in each segment. What makes Samba a favourite of DC & Punch a replent? The answer lies in demography as the former has 86.33 % of population considered as vote Bank of Hindutva brigade & latter 92.89% population who are votaries of federalism.In Distt Ramban Gool Sub- Division falls across the Chenab River and is accessible to the Distt HQs only through the Ramban bridge on Srinagar- Jammu Highway. Even the railway line passing under ground shall not overcome the pangs of geographical isolation. This Sub- Division on the strength of ”other factors” qualifies for a separate Assembly Segment but in the wisdom of the DC no such dispensation is forthcoming. The Distt has 283713 population and 1329 Sq kms area within its jurisdiction and by grant of 01 more seat the population & area per Constituency would have been 94571 & 443 Sq kms respectively. The percentage of population by religion is 70.68 ( Muslims) & 28.56( Hindus). In Kishtwar the average population per Constituency shall be 76.898 persons as a result of increase in Assembly Segments from 02 to 03.In Distt Kathua with the addition of one more Constituency the average population & area of an Assembly Segment shall be 1.02 lakhs & 441+ Sq kms respectively.

The illogical and arbitrary dispensation extended to the Distts of Kathua and Samba on comparison with the status of Distts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Srinagar, Budgam and Baramulla leaves one with inescapable painful conclusions about the credibility and fairness of DC.The parameters talked about have no parallel in the delimitations undertaken sofar for Lok- Sabah and State/UT legislative Assemblies notwithstanding the somewhat identical legal framework in all such situations.New Delhi, a metropolis extending over an area of 1483 Sq kms with unmatched connectivity and compactness, has 07 Lok- Sabah Constituencies essentially due to the population of 16787.941. On an average 23lakh population and 211 Sq kms area in each Constituency. Uttar Pradesh has 80 Segments @ 25 lakh population on 3011 Sq kms per Segment of Lok- Sabha while in Madhya Pradesh with 29 Lok- Sabah seats the average population per Constituency is 25 lakhs & 10629 Sq kms area . The population density ( persons per Sq km of area) in Distts of Srinagar & Kishtwar is 625 & 140 ( Digest of Statistics 2013-14) but the press release depicts it as 3436 & 29 respectively. The Directorate of Economics and Statistics JK owes its explaining. Elected representatives represent people & not lifeless landmass with or without mountains and it is in this backdrop that decadal Census data is linked with delimitation which can’t be ignored by DC unless legal regime is changed constitutionally for the country as a whole.


Shaharbeen News Service Kashmir is a news service which covers, gathers, writes, and distributes news to newspapers, periodicals, radio and television broadcasters, government agencies, and other users. We at SNS Kashmir believe in fair and independent journalism to inform our masses or subscribers and readers about the happenings around the world. The prime focus of the news gathering and reporting is focused on Jammu and Kashmir state.

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