SRINAGAR: The Delimitation Commission of Jammu and Kashmir met with some 400 delegations during its two-day public sittings at Convention Centre, Jammu, and SKICC, Srinagar.
In response to the draft delimitation proposal published in Gazette of India (extraordinary) and in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Gazette on 14th March, 2022, about 400 suggestions/representations with 4,000 signatories were received by the commission till 21st of March. The Commission decided to provide personal hearing to all these delegations, both in Jammu as well as Srinagar, so that the public can directly interact with the members of the Commission and present their suggestions before them.
During the public sittings, the main points of all the representations were read out and the concerned delegations were given opportunity to highlight any additional points for the consideration of the Commission. The general public, public representatives, social workers and members of political parties utilised this opportunity and highlighted their demands/ suggestions/ grievances before the commission which were duly noted by the commission.
The Commission informed the participants that the Delimitation exercise of Jammu and Kashmir has been carried out by the commission in a record time of two years despite the prevalence of Covid-19 pandemic in the country. It further noted that the entire exercise has been carried out as per the provisions of the Delimitation Act 2002 and the J&K Reorganization Act 2019, keeping in view population, public conveniences, communication facilities, geographical compactness of the areas as well as the existing administrative boundaries while delimiting the constituencies.
It was also mentioned that the commission is mandated under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019 to increase the Assembly constituencies from existing 83 to 90. The commission for the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir has proposed to reserve nine seats for the Scheduled Tribes and in addition to it, seven seats have been proposed to be reserved for Scheduled Castes.
The members of the public largely appreciated the efforts of Delimitation Commission and expressed their satisfaction on the entire exercise and termed it fully democratic and transparent process which will benefit the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Delimitation Commission assured the delegations who called on the Commission in Jammu as well as Srinagar that the commission shall consider their genuine suggestions/grievances sympathetically in accordance with the Delimitation Act.
The Commission is headed by its Chairperson, Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, with Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioner KK Sharma as its members. The five members of Lok Sabha from J&K are its associate members.
Meanwhile, Apni Party held a discussion over the Delimitation Report in front of the Delimitation Commission headed by the retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai at SKICC Srinagar.
The delegation was led by District President Budgam Muntazir Mohi-ud-din and Apni Party District President Srinagar Noor Mohammad Sheikh along with other party leaders who appraised the panel about the callous turnup of the report as it was based on zero ground exercise without consulting the people and their representatives from different constituencies.
Besides this the party members also brought into the notice of the panel the area wise allocation of the seats which is a major loophole in the report. The members proposed a draft which would allocate the seats as per the population census 2011 which would be a balanced and fair decision. They raised their demands about the districts qualifying for additional seats in Anantnag, Srinagar, Budgam because of the large population census.
Besides this , they also proposed additional seats for Poonch and Rajouri. The panel was also apprised that the neglected factors which include geographical impediments, distance, weather conditions, accessibility and regional balance have been outrightly ignored.