Home Ministry’s brainwave: Keep some Lok Sabha seats for PoK,just in casehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/home-ministrys-brainwave-keep-some-lok-sabha-seats-for-pok-just-in-case/

Home Ministry’s brainwave: Keep some Lok Sabha seats for PoK,just in case

Sushilkumar Shinde is reviewing the proposal,which involves amending Article 81.

The Union home ministry is working on a proposal to create Lok Sabha seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in what is being seen as a far-fetched and potentially controversial move to assert India’s right on the territory.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde is reviewing the proposal,which involves amending Article 81 of the Indian constitution,and is said to believe that the change should be made early.

Top MHA officials led by Home Secretary Anil Goswami,who is from the Jammu and Kashmir cadre,held discussions earlier this month and felt that the matter needs to be legally examined by the law and justice ministry first.

The officials have cited the composition of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly where 24 seats are reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir but are vacant as the territory is in Pakistan’s control. However,these seats are not taken into account to consider the total membership of the Assembly.

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“It is strongly felt that there is a need for making amendment in Article 81 of the Indian constitution so as to include a provision similar to the provision in the Jammu and Kashmir constitution for keeping seats vacant for the Lok Sabha in respect of the territory illegally occupied by Pakistan,” says the MHA proposal,prepared by joint secretary R K Srivastava.

“It is not understood as to how a reference to this provision was not included in the Indian constitution and how this mismatch has occurred in the two constitutions,” the proposal adds.

While stressing on the need for the law ministry’s opinion,the proposal says that “an amendment in the Indian constitution would give weightage to the statement made by the Prime Minister and the resolutions passed by the Parliament” — a reference to India’s public assertions that PoK is an integral part of India and will remain so.

“It is important that we claim our right on the territory forcibly occupied by

Pakistan,even if the Lok Sabha seats like Assembly remain vacant,” said a top MHA official.

Analysts,however,feel the move is incongruous with reality as India has for long emphasised the sanctity of the Line of Control and does not really expect to

reclaim PoK.