IndiaJammu & Kashmir (Srinagar-S*, Jammu-W*)

Despite a Supreme Court ruling that empowers it to redraw J&K seats, the Center defends its decision

On Thursday, the Centre defended the power of the Delimitation Commission to readjust constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, stating that the J&K Reorganisation Act of 2019 authorizes this action.

Defending the Constitution of the Commission, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated to a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka that the 2019 law does not preclude the establishment of the Delimitation Commission by the Centre and provides two alternative mechanisms for carrying out delimitation for J&K.

It is expected that the bench will reserve its decision on Thursday.

Haji Abdul Gani Khan and Mohammad Ayub Mattoo, petitioners, argued that only the Election Commission is authorized to conduct the delimitation process under the 2019 Act.

Mehta defended this position, “Sections 61 and 62 of the 2019 Act do not preclude the Central Government from establishing a Delimitation Commission under Section 62 of the Act.” Although Section 60 and 61 confer delimitation power on the Election Commission, Sections 62(2) and 62(3) confer delimitation authority on the Delimitation Commission constituted under Section 3 of the Delimitation Act.”.

According to Mehtra, the 2019 law states that the Election Commission may determine the “delimitation of constituencies” and that the “readingjustment of constituencies…shall be carried out by the Delimitation Commission.”.

The use of the expression ‘may’ indicates that the Election Commission has the authority to delimit a territory; on the other hand, the use of the expression ‘shall’ indicates that the Delimitation Commission has a mandatory duty to delimit a territory.

Furthermore, the petitioners argued that delimitation cannot be carried out on the basis of the 2011 Census but rather must be conducted in accordance with the 2001 Census or by waiting for “the first Census after 2026.”

The government proposed to give democracy to the newly formed Union Territory immediately… It was deemed unwise to wait until 2026 to do this, or to do so as per 2001.”

The Centre urged that if the prayers were allowed, it would result in an anomalous situation in which orders issued by the Delimitation Commission would become infructuous when they were published in the Gazette of India.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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