Tribune News Service
New Delhi, Feb 18
The Delimitation Commission, chaired by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai on Thursday met the associate members – Members of Parliament – from Jammu & Kashmir and sought their views on re-drawing the boundaries of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies of the newly carved out Union Territory.
The Commission in an official release said that though it had sent invitations to all the five associate members from the UT to attend the meeting only two of them – Union Minister Jitendra Singh (an MP representing Udhampur constituency) and Jugal Kishore Sharma (Lok Sabha member from Jammu) – came up for deliberations.
The other three – all National Conference members of Lok Sabha – did not attend the meeting. The trio had on Wednesday announced that they would not take part in the deliberations owing to the fact that the law, under which they had been called, was being scrutinised by a five-judge Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court.
Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Massodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone had communicated in writing to the Delimitation Commission in this regard.
Talking to media after the meeting, Jitendra Singh said that proceedings were smooth and fruitful, but hit out at the NC leaders saying: “It is a delimitation exercise and not a platform for political posturing. It does not even get registered with the Election Commission.”
The Union Minister said: “It (Delimitation Commission) is a constitutionally constituted body. Any stand taken against it is itself unconstitutional.”
“When a member refuses to attend the meeting, he is denying the voices of his electorate to be heard in this forum,” he said.
“On one hand, these members stand in Parliament and say that we should have an elected Legislative Assembly in J&K but when a positive headway is made in that direction, they refuse to cooperate. They owe an answer to people, who have sent them to Parliament.”
The Commission on its part said an overview on the process of delimitation based on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 and Delimitation Act, 2002 was presented before the members, which included details of various sections of these laws related to the exercise with respect to the UT of J&K.
“The two associate members appreciated Commission’s efforts and suggested that delimitation of constituencies shall be as far as practicable, be for geographically compact areas and while delimiting them regard shall be given to physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units and facilities of communication and public convenience,” said the Commission, adding that suggestions were also made to give special attention to the difficult terrains, while mentioning that they would put forward more suggestions in coming days.
Beside Justice (Retd) Desai, the other members of the Commission include Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioner KK Sharma.
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