Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has named his deputy, Sushil Chandra, as his nominee to the proposed Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir in keeping with a written request from the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, sources told NDTV.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act-2019 proposes to increase the assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir from 107 to 114. The bill was passed on August 6, a day after the centre scrapped the special status of the erstwhile state through a presidential order.
While a Delimitation Commission is usually headed by a sitting or retired Supreme Court judge, the other two are nominees from the Election Commission and the state government. Sources said that the chairperson and the third panel member will also be named soon.
The effective strength of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was 87 before parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act. This included four seats falling in Ladakh, which is now a separate union territory without a legislature. As many as 24 assembly seats continue to remain vacant because they fall in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“The number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114, and delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission in the manner hereinafter provided,” the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act-2019 reads.
The law also says that while the Lok Sabha will have five seats from Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh will have one seat.
It is essential to redraw constituency boundaries through a delimitation exercise before elections can be held in any state or union territory. The Election Commission had held its first meeting on the proposed delimitation in August, days after the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act was enacted.