Srinagar: National Conference on Tuesday asked the Delimitation Commission to carry out the exercise in a free, fair and transparent manner with population being the only norm.
A five-member delegation of the party comprising Abdul Raheem Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Nasir Aslam Wani and Sakina Itoo met the commission at a hotel here and presented a memorandum.
“So far as the present delimitation exercise is concerned, the party has already communicated its stand to the commission in unequivocal terms,” the NC said in the memorandum to Commission and shared with the media.
“In our view, the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 is palpably unconstitutional and was enacted in disregard and violation of mandate and the spirit of constitution of India and therefore not to be acted upon,” it said, adding, “We have thrown challenge to constitutional validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019.”
The Supreme Court, NC said, has been pleased to refer the petitions to the constitutional bench (five judge) of the Court for consideration and to examine the constitutional validity of the Act and C.O. 272 and C.O. 273. “Though the Constitution bench commenced hearing quite expeditiously yet because of pandemic Covid 19, the hearing got delayed and all the petitions are expected to be taken up once the physical hearing commences.”
The party said it was of the “humble opinion that as the constitutional validity of the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 and the constitutional orders C.O. 272 and C.O.273 are under judicial scrutiny before the Supreme Court, the principle of Constitutional propriety demands that J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 should await decision of the Supreme Court.”
“ We are of the view that under the principle of Constitutional Propriety fundamental to Constitutional democracy, the two pillars of the state – Executive and Legislature, must out of respect to the third pillar i.e. the Judiciary, avoid to implement and exercise powers under an Act vires whereof are under scrutiny of the Court, as implementation of such an Act may amount to pre-empting the judicial verdict,” it said.
Under the constitutional scheme, the grand old party said delimitation of assembly constituencies fell within powers of the state of J&K and under the second proviso to Sec 47 of the Constitution of J&K, the delimitation of constituencies is to be undertaken once the figures of the first census after the year 2026 are published.
“The Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People’s Act, 1957 Part II dealt with the constitution of Delimitation Commission and the procedure to be followed by the Commission. The proviso to Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People’s Act, 1957 inserted by Act XXXIII of 2002 provided for delimitation of Assembly Constituencies after the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 were published,” it said, adding, “The amendment was upheld by the Supreme Court in J&K National Panthers Party vs. Union of India & Ors 2010 (6) JKJ SC-917. We very humbly and respectfully submit that Jammu and Kashmir Constitution subsists notwithstanding enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 and C.O. 272 and C.O. 273 as the Constitution being outcome of exercise of constituent power cannot be abrogated or annulled by the Parliament or any other authority.”
The submissions apart, the party said, delimitation exercise would be a credible effort in strengthening democracy only after full statehood is restored to J&K.
“However, despite our basic reservations on the issue, the commission has decided to go ahead with the delimitation process,” it said as per GNS, adding, “we request you and other members of the Commission to carry out the delimitation exercise in a free, fair and transparent manner so that the unity and integrity of the state is safeguarded. Population has to be the only norm as has been the practice here in the past in J&K and elsewhere in the country.”