J&K Delimitation Commission submits report, recommends 2 seats for Kashmiri migrants

In its final order on Thursday, the Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir recommended additional seats for Kashmiri migrants and displaced individuals from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The Delimitation Commission, chaired by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, a retired Supreme Court judge, met today to finalize the Delimitation Order for Jammu and Kashmir. The order will take effect on the date set by the central government, according to the Gazette statement.

According to the final Delimitation Order, 43 assembly constituencies would be in the Jammu region and 47 in the Kashmir area of the union territory.

For the first time, nine seats have been set aside for Scheduled Tribes (STs) – six in Jammu and three in Kashmir Valley. Scheduled Castes have been allocated seven seats. The former Jammu and Kashmir state’s constitution did not provision for the reservation of seats in the legislative assembly for Scheduled Tribes.

For the first time, all five parliamentary constituencies will have an equal number of assembly seats. For the purposes of delimitation, Jammu and Kashmir has been viewed as a single entity.

“One of the parliamentary constituency has been carved out combining the Anantnag region in the Valley and the Rajouri and Poonch of the Jammu region. By this reorganisation, each parliamentary constituency will have equal number of 18 assembly constituencies each,” an official release said.

Some assembly constituency names have also been modified in response to local representatives’ requests.

Patwar circle, according to the announcement, is the lowest administrative unit that has not been broken. All assembly constituencies will be located within the district’s boundaries.

In the Legislative Assembly, the Commission suggested at least two members from the Kashmiri migrant community (one of whom must be a woman). It stated that such members may be given power in conjunction with nominated members of the Puducherry legislative assembly.

According to the Commission, the central government may consider nominating displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir to the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly.

Ex-officio members of the Commission include Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commissioner KK Sharma.