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Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Challenging Delimitation Notifications in J&K

The court, however, said this dismissal should not be considered an imprimatur to Article 370 related decisions.

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The Supreme Court on Monday, 13 February, dismissed a plea challenging the notifications for the delimitation of Jammu & Kashmir Assembly constituencies.

A bench of Justices SK Kaul and AS Oka had reserved judgment in the plea on 1 December.

Reading out the operative portion of the order, Justice AS Oka, however, stated that this dismissal should not be considered an imprimatur to decisions taken in relation to Article 370. The latter issue is still pending before a Constitution bench of the apex court. 

According to Bar and Bench, the court said:

"We have dismissed the petitions. We have given the rider that the issue of the Reorganisation Act is pending before this Court and we have not said anything on the merits of the same.”
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What did the counsel for the petitioners argue? The petitioners, two residents of Srinagar, had challenged the increase in the number of seats in the Union Territory from 107 to 114. The grounds for the challenge were that the notification was ultra vires Articles 81, 82, 170, 330, and 332 of the Constitution and Section 63 of the Jammu & Kashmir Re-Organisation Act, 2019.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Ravi Shankar Jandhyala said that the delimitation exercise was in violation of the constitutional amendment which froze delimitation till after the first census of 2026. 

Given that four north-eastern states were excluded from the exercise, Jandhyala also argued that this was in violation of Article 14 (right to equality before the law).

What did the respondents argue? Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on his part, argued that:

  • Reorganisation Act has been employed previously to increase the number of MLAs

  • The legislative intent of the Reorganisation Act was to take care of temporary exigencies and peculiar circumstances

(With inputs from Bar and Bench and LiveLaw)

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