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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Dec 6, 2018, 12:06 AM; last updated: Dec 6, 2018, 12:06 AM (IST)

In rare situation, elections can be put off beyond six months: Ex-secy

In rare situation, elections can be put off beyond six months: Ex-secy
The government and EC can take a call after evaluating the circumstances.

Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 5

Even though the Election Commission of India (ECI) has hinted that fresh Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held within six months, the final decision on the issue lies with the government which can extend the poll process in an extraordinary circumstances.

Former Secretary of J&K Legislative Assembly Muhammad Ramzan, who worked with four Speakers and dealt with difficult situations during his 10-year tenure, said the government could extend the date of holding elections beyond six months in an extraordinary situation.

Talking to The Tribune, Muhammad Ramzan said, “the government has to follow the Supreme Court’s direction of holding elections within six months of the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly but the final call lies with the government and ECI which have to consider all aspects connected with the process.”

An expert on J&K, Ramzan during his tenure as Secretary swiftly dealt with constitutional matters in the Assembly.

When asked whether the situation of 1990, when the elections were not held in the state for over six years after militancy broke out and Farooq Abdullah government resigned, set a precedent, he said, “At that time, there were no directions from the Supreme Court regarding the holding of elections within six months. So that can’t be taken as a precedence.”

Commenting on a fresh controversy over the rotation of Assembly segments reserved for the Scheduled Castes, Ramzan said, “the Constitution of the J&K Act, 2013, had with effect from 2010 extended the reservation of seats for 10 more years up to 2020, hence the existing reservation will continue. This constitutional amendment was done with a two-third majority. Rotating the existing reserved seats will not be easy as it requires a two-third majority of the House.”

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