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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Plea against J&K delimitation exercise: Supreme Court asks Centre, UT to reply

Bench presided by Justice S K Kaul asks petitioners why they did not challenge exercise when the commission was first formed in 2020

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 13, 2022 4:25:10 pm
Members of the commission display the final delimitation order for the Union Territory, Thursday. (PTI)

The Supreme Court on Friday sought replies from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea challenging the delimitation exercise by way of which the number of seats in J&K Assembly was recommended to be raised from 83 to 90.

A bench presided by Justice S K Kaul also asked the petitioners why they had not challenged it when the commission was first formed in 2020.

“This commission which was appointed for purposes of J&K, you did not seek to lay a challenge at the initial stage. Therefore, I want to know, are you seeking to challenge the constitution of that committee itself, are you seeking to challenge the report of that committee, what is it that you are seeking to challenge?” Justice Kaul asked Senior Advocate Ravi Shankar Jandhyala who appeared for the petitioner.

The plea contends that only the Election Commission could have undertaken the exercise and that it is against the constitutional provisions under which the extent of constituencies as delineated now shall remain frozen till the first census to be taken after the year 2026.

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As the court fixed the matter for hearing next on August 30, the petitioner’s counsel raised the apprehension that the delimitation report may be tabled in Parliament and then it will be a difficulty.

But the bench asked, “We can restrain them from tabling it in Parliament?” The counsel said once it is tabled, it becomes a civil court decree.

“If you are so anxious, why did you sleep for two years to challenge the earlier notification of 2020?” Justice Kaul said.

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