The Top Court postponed the hearing in a plea filled wherein challenging the delimitation exercise which is carried out for redrawing the Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir to November 29, the court after hearing the submission of the Solicitor general of India Tushar Mehta who requested for some time to file additional documents in the matter.
The bench comprising of Justice S K Kaul and Justice A S Oka observed and has ordered that the additional documents be filed within a week’s time and posted the plea for next hearing on November 29. Further, it was ordered by the court to the petitioner for filling a brief synopsis of five (5) pages limited to the issues pertaining to the petition.
However, it has been made clear by the court that this court will not hear constitutional challenges which are relating to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in the plea and the constitutional bench will hear any arguments regarding that.
Before the court, it has been submitted by the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta that he had a word with the secretary concerned who had dealt with the matter and has come to the conclusion that few additional documents needed to be submitted before the court and therefore some time is needed.
The bench observed in the last hearing that the petitioners, the two residents of Kashmir, had not challenged in the plea the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and therefore any submissions concerning that would not be allowed. The bench noted that that the challenge in this plea was limited to the exercise which is undertaken in respect of the delimitation pursuant to the notifications which is including those of 06.03.2020 and 03.03.2021. Further, it was then asked by the top court that the respondent to fill their counter within a period of six (6) weeks.
It has been submitted by the counsel appearing for the petitioner before the court that in the last hearing it was challenge with respect to the alteration of boundaries and inclusion of extended areas which could not have been done and the same being against the very scheme of the Constitution of India.
The petition filled prayed for declaring that the increase in the number of seats from 107 to 114 (including 24 seats in PoK) in Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires the constitutional provisions such as Article 81, Article 82, Article 170, Article 330 and Article 332 and the statutory provisions particularly under section 63 of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
It has also been submitted in the petition that the last Delimitation Commission that was set up in July 2002 and the guidelines are issued and the methodology for the delimitation of assembly and the parliamentary constituencies which clearly stated that the total number of existing seats in the Legislative Assemblies of all states, as fixed based on the 1971 census shall remain unaltered till the first census which is to be taken after the year 2026.
Therefore, the plea filled challenges the notification dated 06.03.2020 which essentially constituted the delimitation commission in the UT of J&K and states of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Further, it is challenged in the plea that the omission of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland from the process of delimitation vide notification dated 03.03.2021.
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