J&K Delimitation Commission might get another extension

The Delimitation Commission, constituted to redraw 90 Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir so that elections can be held in the Union Territory, is likely to get another extension in its term.

The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai was constituted on March 6, 2020 and its term was extended by another year in March 2021.

Its other members are Chief Election Commissioner, Sushil Chandra and J&K Election Commissioner, K.K.Sharma.

Sources said the Commission is meeting this month to decide on its second extension and the period of that extension.

The Commission is likely to give its draft report to five associate members – 3 Lok Sabha members of the National Conference, and 2 of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

If the Commission gets another extension, the holding of Assembly elections in J&K might get pushed towards the end of 2022 or even beyond that, since these elections can only be held after all the Assembly constituencies are redrawn by it and the population and area of each delimited constituency is notified.

The commission is likely to reserve 9 seats for Scheduled Tribes, which would get such reservation for the first time in J&K.

Seven seats are expected to be reserved for Scheduled Castes.

The Commission will also have to redraw the boundaries of the 7 new constituencies likely to be added to the 83.

Before its bifurcation into two UTs, J&K had 87 assembly constituencies – 4 in the Ladakh region, 47 in the Kashmir Valley and 36 in the Jammu region.

Of the likely 7 new constituencies, Jammu division is to get 6 and the Valley 1.

Constituted by an act of the Parliament under the provisions of Part V of the J&K Reorganisation Act of 2019, the Commission will make its draft report public by this month to get feedback from political parties, civil society groups, and individual citizens.

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