The Delimitation Commission, which has been delegated with the task of the redrawing of boundaries of electoral constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, culminated its four-day visit to the Union Territory on Friday, 9 July.
The Commission has held conferences with several administrative officials, political parties, people's representatives, and other stakeholders in relation to the imminent delimitation exercise during its tour, which began on 6 July.
"Delimitation Commission met more than 290 groups comprising 800 persons during the ongoing visit. We have come with open mind."Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner of India
"If something was decided earlier then Commission would not have come here. Nothing has been pre-planned by the Commission so far. Before starting our exercise, we wanted to have discussion. We want to have the views of all the persons," he said, adding that any apprehensions in this regard should be dispelled.
CEC Chandra further noted that a draft of the proposal will be prepared taking into account all the demands and recommendations, and will be placed in the public domain for feedback and comments. A final draft will be prepared thereafter.
"It will be an absolutely transparent process. It is because of this we are here to hear the views of all stakeholders. That is we have gone to Srinagar, to Kishtwar, to Jammu."Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner of India
Commission member Chandra observed that the first full-fledged delimitation commission was formed in 1981 which submitted its recommendation in 1995, using data from the 1981 census. Thereafter, no delimitation has taken place.
He added that as per the Constitutional mandate, data from the latest census, that is the 2011 census, will be taken into consideration for the impending delimitation exercise.
"The Commission is doing its work as per the Delimitation Act and as per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act," CEC Chandra said.
The Commission had met with leaders of BJP, Congress and Panther's party among others in Srinagar on 6 July in relation to the delimitation exercise. People's Democratic Party (PDP), however, abstained from the meeting as a mark of protest.
Delimitation in J&K
The bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories alongside the effective revocation of Article 370 had set the ball rolling for a delimitation exercise to be carried out in the region.
To carry out the exercise in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of its special status revocation, a Delimitation Commission was set up on 6 March 2020.
The commission is headed by Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, and includes an election commissioner along with the state election commissioner, as well as five associate members for J&K.
The commission is mandated to delimit the constituencies of the Union Territory “in accordance with the provisions of part V of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019) and the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002 (33 of 2002).”