Srinagar, Dec 22: The orders of the delimitation commission constituted by the Government of India to redraw J&K’s electoral map cannot be challenged in any court.
A cursory look at the constitutional provisions and statutes governing the delimitation process reveals that the commission’s orders cannot be questioned in any court.
“The validity of any law relating to the delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats to such constituencies, made or purporting to be made under Article 327 or Article 328, shall not be called in question in any court,” reads Article 329(a) of the Constitution of India.
The Delimitation Act-2002-the law under which delimitation exercise is being carried out in J&K- clearly states that the process cannot be questioned in any court and the commission’s orders have the force of law.
“Upon publication in the Gazette of India, every such order shall have the force of law and shall not be called in question in any court,” reads sub-section (2) of section 10 of the Act, which was made applicable to J&K through the Reorganization Act.
Similar provisions also existed in the law and the J&K constitution under which the delimitation process was carried out in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Delimitation Commission shall cause its order made under clause (d) of sub-section (3) of section 4 to be published in the Gazette, and upon such publication, the said order shall have the force of law and shall not be called in question in any court,” read Jammu and Kashmir Representation of Peoples Act-1957.
In 1977, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ruled that it cannot even investigate whether the notification published by the Delimitation Commission is reasonable.
“We accordingly hold that the orders under section 4 and 4B of the Representation of Peoples Act which govern the adjustment of number of seats and delimitation of Assembly constituencies cannot be enquired into the Court in view of the bar contained in section 142 (a) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir,” a two-judge bench headed by Justice A.S. Anand and Justice I.K. Kotwal ruled.
It is pertinent to mention that the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Alliance on Tuesday claimed that they will challenge the delimitation commission’s orders in the Supreme Court if they are not changed.
According to the law, the Commission shall publish its proposals for the delimitation of constituencies, together with the dissenting proposals, if any, of any associate member who desires publication thereof, in the Gazette of India and in the Official Gazette of Jammu and Kashmir before finalizing the proposals.
As per the law, the panel has to consider all objections/ suggestions which may have been received by it before the date so specified and hold one or more public sittings for their consideration.