Out of 400 objections/suggestions, few can be accepted
* Panel giving the final touch to the recommendations
JAMMU, 25 April: The Boundary Commission is in the final stages of submitting its recommendations after settling over 400 objections/suggestions it received to its draft report released on 14 March. The Group was given the task of demarcating 90 Assembly constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Official sources told Excelsior that the Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai and comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma finalizes over 400 objections/suggestions she received from March 14-21 after putting the draft report in the public domain, followed by her two-day visit to the Jammu and Kashmir divisions the April 4 and 5.
Objections/suggestions were made by major political parties, social organizations and individuals from both parliamentary constituencies and the Assembly.
There were indications that the Boundary Commission might accept certain objections/suggestions it received from political parties, organizations and individuals, as it had done in the case of five associate members, including some of the complaints were investigated.
The Associate Members of the Commission were the Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr. Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore, both members of BJP Lok Sabha from Jammu Division and Dr. Farooq Abdullah , Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, all three NC MPs. of Kashmir. The Commission had also issued a joint dissenting note by NC MPs and BJP MP Jugal Kishore along with the draft report.
“The Demarcation could submit its final recommendations to the Union Justice Department at any time,” the sources said, adding that the Commission has until May 6 to submit its report.
They said the report should be submitted by May 6. Under no circumstances will the Panel seek a further extension of its mandate as it has completed most of its task, they added.
After accepting/rejecting the complaints and objections it received after putting the draft report in the public domain on March 14, the Commission will submit its final report to the Ministry of Union Law which had set up the group on March 6, 2020 for a one-year term. The Commission’s mandate was extended for one year on March 6, 2021. In February, it was granted a two-month extension until May 6, 2022.
Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir can only take place after the Boundaries Commission submits its final report, followed by an almost four-month-long summary electoral roll review exercise to be undertaken by the Electoral Commission.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said some time ago that assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir would be held six to eight months after the submission of the Boundaries Commission report .
Once the delimitation exercise is completed, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will increase from 83 to 90.
Twenty-four Assembly seats remain vacant as they fall under Pakistani-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK).
While dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories through the Reorganization Act, the Union Home Ministry had increased the number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. -Kashmir by seven, bringing the total number of seats to 114, of which 24 are reserved for the PoJK while elections will be held for 90 seats.
The former state of Jammu and Kashmir had 111 seats, 24 of which were reserved for the PoJK, while elections were held for 87 seats. With the creation of Ladakh as a union territory, four seats from the region were reduced and the Assembly was left with 83 seats. However, with a seven-seat increase, J&K UT will have a 90-seat Assembly. Two women deputies will be appointed to the Chamber, which was also the case before.
In the previous Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.
The last delineation of Assembly constituencies took place in 1994-95 during the President’s reign when the seats of the former State Assembly were increased from 76 to 87. The seats of the Jammu region increased from 32 to 37, those of Kashmir from 42 to 46 and those of Ladakh from two to four. .