as India As it elects its next Speaker on July 18, the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will not be part of the exercise for the second time in the history of elections for the top constitutional post. There have been instances of not being part of the presidential election due to the dissolution of the state legislatures, the first such instance being Gujarat in 1974.
The Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir also could not participate in subsequent elections due to dissolution. In the present case, the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir is yet to be formed, as the erstwhile state was bifurcated into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in 2019.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act provides for a Legislative Assembly for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, but elections are yet to be held for various reasons. In 1974, Gujarat was in the grip of the Navnirman movement, which led to the dissolution of the Chimanbhai Patel-led state government.
Against the backdrop of demands for postponing the presidential election, a reference was made to the Supreme Court to seek its opinion and to end any dispute early on. The top court had said that the presidential election should be held and completed at such a time that the elected president can enter the office on the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing president and, therefore, the election should also be held. If Gujarat Legislative Assembly did not exist then.
The Supreme Court had noted that Article 54 of the Constitution mentions the Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies only for the purpose of showing the qualifications of the members of the electoral college. “The elected members of the dissolved Legislative Assembly of a State are no longer members of the electoral college consisting of the elected members of both the Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States and are, therefore, not entitled to vote in the Presidential elections,” the apex court said. had given an opinion.
In 1992, the Legislative Assemblies of Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland were dissolved and thus, Shankar Dayal Sharma elected to the top constitutional post could not be part of the 10th presidential election. In 1992, Jammu and Kashmir went unrepresented in the presidential elections as elections to the Lok Sabha in 1991 also could not be held in the erstwhile state due to insurgency.
However, five Lok Sabha members from the Union Territory, Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi, Akbar Lone, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Jitendra Singh are eligible to cast their votes in the presidential election to be held on July 18. In 1982, when Giani Zail Singh was elected President, the MLAs of Assam could not vote as the assembly was dissolved.