Delimitation of constituencies

  • Delimitation of the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories has become inevitable after the creation of the two states of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Although the government has not yet formally notified the Election Commission, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 and its provision regarding delimitation in particular, have been internally discussed by the Election Commission.

What is limitation and why is it needed?

  • The task of redesigning the boundaries of Lok Sabha and state assembly seats is called delimitation which aims at equal representation of the transformed population.
  • Due to this process, the number of seats allocated to different states in the Lok Sabha and the total number of seats in an assembly can also change.
  • The main objective of delimitation is to provide equal representation to similar segments of the population.
  • It also aims at the proper division of geographical areas so that one political party does not get an inappropriate advantage over others in elections.

Legal status

  • The delimitation is carried out by an independent Delimitation Commission (DC).
  • The constitution declares its order as final and cannot be questioned before any court as it will obstruct elections indefinitely.

Delimitation Commission

Under Article 82, Parliament imposes a Delimitation Act after every census. After the enactment of the Act, the Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President and this Commission works closely with the Election Commission.

Composition

  • Retired judge of supreme court
  • Chief Election Commissioner
  • Election Commissioner of concerned state

Work

  • Determining the number and extent of constituencies to equalize the population of all constituencies.
  • To reserve areas for which the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is relatively high.
  • If there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Commission, the decision will be taken on the basis of majority.
  • The Delimitation Commission of India is a powerful body whose decisions are enforced legally and these decisions are not tenable in any court.
  • All these determinations are made on the basis of the latest census data.

constituencies
constituencies

The implementation

  • The draft proposals of the Delimitation Commission are published in the Gazette of India, the official gazettes of the respective states and at least two national newspapers for public response.
  • Public meetings are also organized by the commission.
  • After listening to the public, it considers the objections and suggestions received in writing or orally during the meetings and changes it in the draft proposal if it considers necessary.
  • The final order is published in the Gazette of India and the Gazette of the State and comes into force on the date specified by the President.

How many times has the past been delimited?

  • The first delimitation work was done by the President (with the help of Election Commission) in the year 1950-51.
  • At that time there was no provision in the Constitution as to who would do the work of dividing the states into Lok Sabha seats.
  • The delimitation was short-lived and temporary as the Constitution provided for restructuring of boundaries after each census. Therefore, after the census of 1951, another delimitation situation was created.

Why delimitation commission more freedom?

  • The Election Commission of India pointed out the fact that the first delimitation has disaffected many political parties and individuals, as well as advised the government that all future delimitation should be done by an independent commission.
  • This suggestion was accepted and in the year 1952 the Delimitation Act was enacted.
  • Delimitation Commissions were constituted four times under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 in the years 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002.
  • After the 1981 and 1991 census, no delimitation work was done.

Why the delimitation of 2002 is not formed?

  • The constitution provides that the number of Lok Sabha seats allotted to a state will be such that the ratio (as far as practicable) between this number and the population of the state is uniform for all states.
  • But this provision also implies that states with little interest in population control will get undeservedly more seats in Parliament.
  • Southern states that promote family planning may face the prospect of losing their seats.
  • To overcome these fears, during the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1976, the constitution was amended and the delay was postponed till 2001.
  • Despite this ban, there were occasions when the number of Parliament and Assembly seats allotted to a state was changed again.
  • These include attaining statehood in the year 1986 by Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, creation of an assembly for the National Capital Territory of Delhi and creation of new states like Uttarakhand.

Why the delimitation postponed till 2026?

  • Although the ban on change in the number of seats in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies was to be lifted after the 2001 census, it was postponed till 2026 by another amendment.
  • It was justified on the basis that by 2026, a uniform population growth rate would be achieved across the country.
  • Thus the last delimitation exercise (which commenced in July 2002 and concluded on 31 May 2008) was based on the 2001 census and it re-adjusted the limits of the already existing Lok Sabha and Assembly seats and the number of reserved seats again. booked up.

Why in delimitation discussion for Jammu and Kashmir?

  • The delimitation of the Lok Sabha seats of Jammu and Kashmir is governed by the Constitution of India, but the delimitation of its assembly seats (until the recently concluded special status) is governed separately by the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957 Was.
  • As far as the delimitation of Lok Sabha seats is concerned, the last Delimitation Commission of 2002 was not assigned this task. Therefore, the parliamentary seats of Jammu and Kashmir remained limited on the basis of 1971 census.
  • Although the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Limitation Provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir People Representation Act, 1957 for the assembly seats are similar to the Constitution of India and the Delimitation Act, there is a provision of a separate Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The assistance of the Central Delimitation Commission set up for other states was also taken by Jammu and Kashmir in the years 1963 and 1973.
  • By the 1976 constitutional amendment, the delimitation for the rest of India was postponed until 2001, but no such amendment was brought in the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Therefore, unlike the rest of the country, the assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir were limited on the basis of 1981 census and based on that, the state assembly elections of 1996 were concluded.
  • No census work was done in the state in the year 1991 and no delimitation commission was set up by the state government after the 2001 census as the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly had passed an act to ban the new delimitation by the year 2026. This moratorium was upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has 87 seats – 46 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu and 4 seats in Ladakh and 24 seats are reserved for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Some political parties allege that this ban on delimitation has created a situation of inequality for the Jammu region.
  • In August, the central government abolished the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and converted Jammu and Kashmir into a union territory. Under this Act, the delimitation of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory will now be in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Act also states that in the next delimitation exercise (which is expected to start soon) the number of Assembly seats will increase from 107 to 114. Jammu region will benefit from this increase in seats.

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