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Inappropriate for a court to intervene in matters of reservation of Parliamentary Seats in Lok Sabha inspite of presence of Delimitation Commission: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

In due deference to the doctrine of separation of powers, the court refrained from issuing any mandamus to the respondents to reserve one Parliamentary Seat each for SCs and STs as was claimed by the petitioners. The aforesaid has been established by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir while adjudicating the case of Chaman Lal Kanathia and Ors v. UOI and others [OWP No.200/2009] which was adjudicated upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Kumar on 8th October 2021.

The brief facts of the case are as follows. The petitioners, who claimed to be the members of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories sought a mandamus to the respondents to reserve one Parliamentary Seat in the Lok Sabha in the State of Jammu and Kashmir for the Scheduled Castes and one Parliamentary Seat for the Scheduled Tribe categories under Article 330 (1) & (2) read with Article 341 & 342 of the Constitution of India. They also prayed for an order restraining the respondents from conducting Parliamentary elections in the near future. Reliance is placed by learned ASGI on the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Megh Raj Kothari v. Delimitation Commission, AIR 1967 SC 669 to contend that the validity of any law relating to the delimitation of constituencies or the allotment of seats to such constituencies, made or purported to be made under Article 327 or Article 328 is not open to challenge in any Court.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. It was hence of the opinion that “this Court cannot issue a mandamus to the respondents to reserve a particular parliamentary constituency for the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe categories. A view in this regard is required to be taken by the competent authority on the basis of recommendations made by the Delimitation Commission constituted under The Delimitation Act, 2002. [Act of 2002]. In view of the aforesaid when the Delimitation Commission is seized of the matter and exercise is underway, it would not be appropriate for this Court to make an intervention in the matter. The petitioners, if aggrieved, are well within their right to approach the Commission with their representation and seek consideration of their grievance. It is for the Delimitation Commission constituted for Jammu and Kashmir to consider the grievance of the petitioners and redress the same if found genuine. This petition is, accordingly, found not maintainable and dismissed, leaving it open to the petitioners to approach the Delimitation Commission with an appropriate representation.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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