A post claiming Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that “the Modi government has reserved 24 seats for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as POK is ours.” Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: The Modi government has reserved 24 seats for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
Fact: The original constitution of Jammu and Kashmir reserved 25 seats for the regions in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Through a subsequent amendment, the number of seats was decreased to 24. This was mentioned several times even after the abrogation of Article 370. Section 14(4) of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation act, 2019 also reiterates that these 24 seats in the Legislative Assembly shall be kept unoccupied. Hence, the claim made in the post is MISLEADING
On performing a relevant keyword search regarding the claim, we found that the claim is associated with Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s speech in the Lok Sabha during the discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023. In his speech, he stated, “Earlier there were 37 seats in Jammu which have now become 43, there were 46 seats in Kashmir earlier which have now become 47 and 24 seats have been kept reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir because POK is ours.”
The original constitution of Jammu and Kashmir dedicated 100 seats for the people directly elected for specific areas. Out of these seats, 25 were reserved for the regions in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Later, this number was reduced to 24 seats after amendment with a condition. Section 48 of the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir states that 24 seats in the Legislative Assembly shall be kept unoccupied. These empty seats won’t be counted when determining the total number of members in the Assembly. Besides, the geographical area associated with these vacant seats will not be considered when deciding the boundaries of the different areas or constituencies within the region.
This was mentioned several times even after the abrogation of Article 370. Section 14(4) of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 mentions this. Moreover, the delimitation commission discussed this before undertaking the process of redrawing assembly constituencies in the Union Territory in 2021, and these vacant seats were maintained even after the reorganisation in 2022.
To sum up, Seats have been reserved for the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region since the inception of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, it was not done recently.