A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of Parliament (MP) has moved a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha, seeking reservation of five seats in the lower House as well as one in the Rajya Sabha for residents of Gilgit and Azad Kashmir [Pakistan administered Kashmir].
“It is a matter of extreme surprise that the Lower House does not take into account this territory, whereas the State Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir keeps 25 seats vacant for the territory which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” said Nishikant Dubey who has piloted the bill.
“It would be proper that seats provided for the Jammu and Kashmir area, which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan, in the House of the People (Lok Sabha) are kept vacant as elections cannot be held in these areas,” he said.
Dubey expected the bill to be taken up during the second phase of the budget session of Parliament starting from 9 March. The Legislation asks for an insertion of new Article 370A, after Article 370, in the Constitution of India, to add five Lok Sabha seats and one Rajya Sabha seat.
However, these seats would be kept vacant as elections cannot be held in these areas. At the same time, these seats shall not be taken into account for reckoning the total membership of both houses and the said area shall be excluded in delimiting the territorial constituencies, the Bill proposes.
Dubey had tried twice to introduce this private member’s bill, once in November 2014 and in February 2015 again, but on both occasions deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha disallowed it. “I will approach all the members and try to build consensus on this landmark legislation,” Dubey said, adding that the purpose behind moving this legislation is to highlight the atrocities committed by Pakistan in these areas. Time has come to correct the mistake that is being carried out from 1950s, he added. —KR.