Task before the present J&K Delimitation Commission is very challenging since the wrongs of 7 decades have to be undone

Jammu Kashmir_1
 Writer is Sh. Daya Sagar , Sr. Journalist and Analyst of J&K affairs and Patron of jammu Kashmir Study Centre

The task before the Delimitation Commission for the Legislative Assembly of UT of J&K is very challenging, of course it is hard too, but it is more appropriate to name it challenging since the Commission has to perform a task which no any Delimitation Commission in India may have performed so far. The height of challenge could be seen from the reactions which have come from some ‘Kashmir Valley’ leadership in response to reported contents of some ‘draft’ proposals that the Delimitation Commission is said to have shared with its Associate Members ( 5 Lok Sabha MPs from UT of J&K ) on 20th December 2021 in a way appearing to share the understandings that 6 Seats only out of the 7 new seats created in terms of Section - 60 (1) of THE JAMMU AND KASHMIR REORGANISATION ACT, 2019 NO. 34 OF 2019 of 09-08-2019{ 60 (1) Without prejudice to sub-Sections (3) of Section 14 of this Act, 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— ; Section 14 -(1) There shall be an Administrator appointed under article 239 of the Constitution of India for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and shall be designated as Lieutenant Governor of the said Union territory. Section14(2) There shall be a Legislative Assembly for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Section(3) The total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be filled by persons chosen by direct election shall be 107. Section14(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-Section (3), until the area of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir under the occupation of Pakistan ceases to be so occupied and the people residing in that area elect their representatives— (a) twenty four seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall remain vacant and shall not be taken into account for reckoning the total membership of the Assembly; and (b) the said area and seats shall be excluded in delimiting the territorial constituencies as provided under PART V of this Act } would be added to the earlier number (37) of constituencies (MLAs) named for representing the areas that lie outside Kashmir valley out of 83 seats kept for the UT of J&K and remaining one seat is proposed for adding to the areas (46) nominated from Kashmir valley as part of UT of J&K even when much more is expected for distribution over the areas out side Kashmir value for undoing the continued injustice over 7 decades being meted to people living in bad and distantly placed areas of J&K (most of which lie outside Kashmir Valley).


Table - A

Act No. 34 of 2019 Sections - 59, Sub- Section-2 of Section-60 says <“ In determining the matters referred to in clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1), the Election Commission shall have regard to the following provisions, namely: (b) all constituencies shall, as far as practicable, be geographically compact areas, and in delimiting them, regard shall be had to (i)physical features, (ii) *existing boundaries of administrative units (iii) facilities of communication constituencies; (iv) and conveniences to the public



Ground Information

Jammu Region

Kashmir Region

Likely share out of 90 for Areas outside K .Valley


Section-50 of J&K Constitution .

Elected MLCs



48.46 units


Administrative status and local conveniences

1947 Districts including POJK

5 District +2 Jagirs (Poonch & Chenani)

3 Districts

Number districts in 1978 gives real picture and number of districts after 1979 and in 2007 cause illusion . Surely the districts in Kashmir valley were irrationally increased in 1979 and 2007 to mislead any reviewing authority.

+33% & ++300% more than what Wazir Commission said

Districts excluding POJK 1948

4 + 2 Jagirs ( less Mirpur)

2 districts

( less Muzaffrabad )

Districts excluding POJK in 1978



Districts in 1979

6 ( no change)

increased from 3to 6?

Districts proposed by Js Wazir Commission in 1984

9 Nine

7 Seven

Districts made in 2007


10++ ?

Likely Weightage





Area in 2021


26293 sq km

15948 sq km

56.02 units




*a. Delimitation order 1995 ignored the guiding data

on.Areas outside Valley that had comparatively very poor connectivity

**b. Current status in 2021 is also bad for areas outside Kashmir valley


*Roads 1987

3500 km

4900 km


*Area Covered by roads in 1987


40 %


**Roads J&K R&B Website 31-03-2021


Black Top roads Km

14541 km

0.5525 km /sq km

12225 km

0.767km/sq km

38.8% more than Jammu region


Fair weather roads Km

5780 Km

25.96 % of total roads in region.

890 Km

Only 4.96 % of total in region

***Say even just 55% units points in favour areas outside Kashmir valley i.e

49 units


Total Roads of all type including B.T/ Metalled/ Shingled/ FW

0.846 km /sq km

1.124 km/sq km 33.5% more than Jammu Region




Min 60% bad

Max 40 % bad .

Around 50 units


****The Vale of Kashmir is also quoted even in official documents as to be also having it past an ancient lake basin about 85 miles (135 km) long, 20 miles (32 km) wide, that is drained by the upper Jhelum River. i.e nearly 4620 sq km out of 15948 sq km



Population 2011

53, 50811

68, 88497



Overall likely reflections could be upto units out of 90 units in favour of areas outside Kashmir valley : 48.82 out of 90



Ofcourse it is also expected of the Associate Members ( Section-60-3) of the DC to take care of any thing that has not been yet come in the notice of the Delimitation Commission or any ground information that can help the DC for undoing the serious wrongs of earlier Delimitation Committees / Commissions who had so wrongly distributed all these 7 decades lesser constituencies (MLAs) in the Legislative Assembly over the areas that had been constitutionally provided more elected representatives under Section-50 of the J&K Constitution in the Legislative Council (MLCs) and also so far mercilessly defying the guidelines as enshrined in J&K Representation of the People Act 1957 {now also similar guidelines are laid under Act34 of 2019 -- presently :-Sections – 59 & Sub- Section-2 of Section-60 of J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019) and the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002 (33 of 2002) ; Earlier:- J&K Representation of People Act 1957 Section- 4, Sub Section –2, Clause (a)-i population, ii geographical compactness i.e area iii: Nature of terrain iv Facilities of Communication v. and the like considerations}.

To have an idea of the wrongs done and repeated even after 1951 some briefs on the facts that the Delimitation Commission could take notice of and which the Associate Members must also place / explain before the DC are tabulated here in ( Table-A). These are only indicators since the actual data could be retrieved / demanded by the delimitation commission only from government sources and it is hoped that the delimitation commission shall deliver much more than what has been reported in media on 20th Dec 2021. At least present Delimitation Commission shall critically sense the rational needs in terms of the laid down guidelines for delimiting single member assembly segments. 

No doubt from the media reports it could be sensed that present Delimitation Commission has surely noticed that earlier delimitations had serious fault lines since had that not been so the DC may not have put 6 out of 7 new seats in the basket of areas out side Kashmir valley and instead would have put not more than 3 to 4 seats in the basket of areas outside Kashmir valley keeping in view the earlier number of 37 out of 83.

So, with real data/ facts getting exposed before the DC more numbers could shift from the earlier region wise distribution out of 83 seats also so as to more disturb those who have been all these years carrying unduly more balance in legislature, may be they have sensed that.

No doubt the categorisation of districts being done by Commission has its merits worth leading to a revealing exercise. It has been also reported that in its pious wisdom Commission has also devised working model in relation to population and other 4 laid down parameters (intentions laid for keeping the people represented and their MLA as nearly approachable to each other in terms of convenience and time) for delimiting the single member segments of a Legislative Assembly. Actual brief on the model is not known and in this regard it can only be submitted that the irrational wrongs done in the past as regards the Assembly Segments have been so huge that the delimitation process so far adopted in other states may not be able to correct the wrongs done in J&K over last 7 decades.

To have an idea of the wrongs done and repeated even after 1951 as regards delimiting the single member segments of the Legislative Assembly of the erstwhile State of J&K in relation to the areas of present UT of J&K in the Kashmir valley and those outside the Kashmir Valley some briefs on the facts that the Delimitation Commission could take notice of and which the Associate Members must also place / explain before the DC are tabulated here in ( Table-A).  

Wrongs done so far :- Areas of Princely State of J&K in 1947 in Kashmir Valley comprising 3 districts of Anantnag, Baramulla and Muzaffrabad were extending over approximately 22133 sq km with population of 17,28,686 and those out side Kashmir valley ( other than Ladakh region ) comprising 5 districts of Mirpur, Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur , Reasi and 2 Jagirs of Poonch & Chenani extended over approximately 36315 sq km with population of 20,01,557 . After Pakistan illegally occupied ‘Mirpur’ District from Jammu Province and ‘Muzaffrabad’ District from Kashmir Valley Kashmir Valley was left with only 2 districts with area of 15948 sq km and where as Jammu region still left with 4 Districts plus 2 Jagirs with area of 26293 sq km. Later on the unoccupied ( 4 Districts plus 2 jagirs ) areas of Jammu Region were reorganised into 6 districts ( Poonch, Rajouri ,Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Doda ) and unoccupied areas( 2 Districts of Anantnag and Baramulla+) of Kashmir region were reorganised into 3 districts ( Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla). But so irrationally in 1951 the left over population in reference to 1941 census was so erroneously assumed as 17, 20000 out of 17, 28686 taking that even when District of Muzaffrabad was lost still there was nearly no change in left over population where as for areas of Jammu region it was so erroneously assumed that with Mirpur District nearly 800000 population had been lost. And hence so erroneously for the Constituent Assembly in 1951 @40000 population/ seat 43 seats were assigned to Kashmir Valley and only 30 seats to areas outside Kashmir valley in Jammu region that were spread over much larger area and had on ground much more population than what was so erroneously assumed ( 1200000) Kashmir valley. Anyhow while the Constituent Assembly was drafting constitution of J&K it appears very realistic notice was taken of the ground conditions of the areas outside ( other than Ladakh region) Kashmir valley as well as the ‘real’ population that may be then there along with other physical conditions in which the masses were living and hence inspite of the members from Kashmir Valley being more(43) in number in CA while drafting Section-50 of J&K Constitution 14 elected members were constitutionally slated for areas outside Kashmir valley in Jammu region and only 12 elected members for areas in Kashmir valley where as for Legislative Assembly where the members for direct election were kept as 75 it was left to the Delimitation Commission to decide their locations over the areas of J&K keeping in view the needs & status of a particular time to be reworked after every new population census ( every ten years) in terms of the laid parameters for the purpose ( for which the J&K representation of people Act 1957 was enacted laying down among other things 5 parameters for deciding the location of a single member constituency of Legislative Assembly). After 1957 it was hoped that the representation in the Legislative Assembly would be decided in a rational manner but same numbers as were in constituent assembly were kept for Jammu (30) and Kashmir (43) regions.. In a way the Delimitations / reviews as have been were carried till date have been almost keeping in view the strength same as was in the Constituent Assembly i.e more members from Kashmir valley even when all 4 prime parameters ( geographical compactness, terrain, means of communication/ public conveniences / administrative needs and like factors ) other than population had been physically on the side of the areas outside Kashmir valley that have been distant/ bad terrain/ less connectivity and there were also constitutionally more elected members in the Legislative Council from out side Kashmir valley . Last it was the Delimitation Commission that in 1995 so irrationally ordered 46 out of 87 ( strength had been increased from 76 to 87 by a constitutional amendment in 1987) members for Kashmir Valley from where there was provision for only 12 elected members and only 37 for Jammu region areas where there were 14 elected MLCs constitutionally.


The delimitation commission constituted for UT of J&K to distribute 90 seats of the Legislative Assembly of UT J&K has been so far held in high esteem by common of J&K hoping that at least this commission with apply the needed corrections to the repeated wrongs over 7 decades and break the shackles of valley centric traditions & inclinations which have to be broken some day taking into consideration the guidelines laid constitutionally for delimitation of the single member segments of the Legislative Assembly and the corresponding data/ ground situations in relation to the guiding parameters.Since it could be read from the reports that appeared in media on 20th December 2021 that Delimitation Commission may be working on the principles of Macro ( region/ district wise) and Micro ( district/ constituency) for carving out the individual constituencies an exercise has been made here in above quoting /listing some related information w.r.t. to laid down parameters for assisting in macro analysis at UT and regional levels No doubt for total end exercise ,where ever needed, the DC shall surely be to asking for the required authentic data/ information from the government . These are only indicators since the actual data could be retrieved / demanded by the delimitation commission only from government sources and it is hoped that the delimitation commission shall deliver much more than what has been reported in media on 20th Dec 2021. At least present Delimitation Commission shall critically sense the rational needs in terms of the laid down guidelines for delimiting single member assembly segments. The Associate Members even from within the Kashmir Valley too have duty to present the case of the people and areas out side Kashmir valley, more particularly responsibility lies more on elder leader Dr. Farooq Abdullah too for getting the corrections made. 7 decades have already gone, how many more could be imposed?

One day the real facts have to be taken to public / made known to the people of J&K and Kashmir valley in particular, why not that be done now through the on going delimitation exercise and it is hoped that the present delimitation drafts have some thing more to be reshuffled out of the 83 constituencies as well { The Third Schedule [See Section 14(5)] } in favour of the areas lying outside Kashmir valley in addition the references about the 7 seats that have been reported on 20th December 2021.