Politicians say DC Jammu’s order on revised electoral rolls arbitrary, akin to ‘physical implementation of adding non-locals in J&K’


Srinagar, Oct 12: Politicians say Deputy Commissioner Jammu (DC) order on revised electoral rolls was ‘arbitrary’ and was akin to ‘physical implementation of adding non-locals in J&K.

In an order the Deputy Election Officer (DEO), Jammu,  has authorized Tehsildars to issue certificate of residence to people residing in Jammu for more than a year so as to facilitate their entry into the ongoing special summary revision of electoral rolls.

Terming latest order issued by Deputy Commissioner Jammu regarding inclusion of non-local voters in revised electoral rolls as arbitrary, CPI (M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami on Wednesday said that it is beginning of a wider plan to reduce the weightage of locals in order to change electoral demographics.

In a statement Tarigami said that all parties and civil society groups must reject this arbitrary inclusion of no locals. “BJP designs must be defeated,” he said

Hasnain Masoodi

National Conference (NC) leader and MP Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi on Wednesday said DC Jammu’s order reinforces the party’s apprehensions of disempowerment of local people of J&K.

In a statement, Masoodi, who is also the convener of 14 member Committee constituted by the political parties that attended the meeting at Jammu in September to discuss the inclusion of non-local voters, has in a statement labelled the order of DC Jammu dated 11.10. 2022 authorising Revenue Officers to issue, even in absence of documents, certificates declaring the recipients as “ordinarily residing” in a constituency and facilitate their enrolment as voters as a steps towards addition of 25 lakh non local voters and disempowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Masoodi stated that not only is the Order beyond scope of Representation of People’s but the repeal of J&K Representation of People’s Act 1957 and application Representation of People’s Act 1950 is under a cloud as The Reorganisation Act 2019 where under the steps have been taken, is under challenge before the top Constitutional Court of the Country.

The order is open-ended and designed to pave the way for inclusion of non-locals not “ordinarily residing” in a constituency in the voter list. Masoodi has said that the committee will shortly meet and discuss the matter and decide on response and strategy to meet the challenge.

Meanwhile, party’s Provincial President Jammu Rattan Lal Gupta has also denounced the order, saying the order undermines the exclusive democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Reacting to the directive issued by DC Jammu to facilitate registration of non-locals as electors, Peoples Conference (PC) Wednesday said that the order is highly suspicious and the onus of proving the suspicions wrong yet again lies on the ECI and the J&K administration.

“The directive issued by DC Jammu authorising revenue officials to issue certificates of residence to outsiders residing in Jammu for more than one year is highly suspicious. It reinforces the apprehensions in the minds of locals that outsiders are being enabled to register as voters in order to change the demographic profile of J&K. This action is also in blatant violation of SC judgment in ECI Vs Dr. Manmohan Singh case, where the court held that the ordinary resident in a constituency as mentioned in the Representation of the People Act, 1950 shall mean a habitual resident of that place or a resident as a matter of fact in regular, normal or usual course and that the residence must be permanent in character and for a considerable time with intention to dwell permanently,” PC spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson further asserted that apprehensions of demographic intervention in J&K are actually fuelled by unwarranted actions, gestures and statements of certain officers of the election authority.

“First, the press conference of the CEO claiming registration of 25 lakh outside voters created doubts about demographic intervention and then the State Administration had to retract from this statement by issuing a clarification. Now, the Dy Commr. Jammu has provided fodder to such apprehensions by her latest directive forcing the people of J&K to believe that such demographic intervention is actually taking shape,” he said.

PC accordingly urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) as well as J&K Administration to come clean in the matter and clarify if DC Jammu has been authorized to issue such a directive and if so, under what law, rule or norm.

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