Table of Contents-
- Delimitation explained
- Commission and its Framework
- Previous Delimitation Exercises
- Problems with delimitation
- On March 06, 2020, the Central government had set up Delimitation Commission for the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies of The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) And the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and
- This commission is headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner Shushil Chandra and election commissioners of J&K, and the four North-Eastern states will be ex-officio members of the Commission.
Delimitation and Delimitation Commission–
Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
The job of delimitation is assigned to a high power body. Such a body is known as Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission.
The main objective of delimitation is, based on a recent census, Redraw the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, so as to have –
- equal representation (population wise) from every seat/constituency as far as practically possible
- Determine the number of seats, if any, to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and for the Scheduled Tribes of the State
- Proper division of geographical areas so that one political party does not get an inappropriate advantage over others in elections.
- -In this process the Number of seats allocated to different states in Lok Sabha and the total number of seats in a State legislative assembly may also change
- Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
- Under Article 170, States get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.
- Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission. This Delimitation Commission demarcates the boundaries of the Constituencies as per provisions of the Delimitation Act.
Delimitation Commission, its framework and features
The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
The Commission is composed of –
- Retired Supreme Court judge (As the Chairperson of the commission)
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Respective State Election Commissioners
(As Ex-Officio Members of the commission)
Features of Delimitation Commission –
- The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.
- The copies of its orders are laid before the House of the People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.
- In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.
Previous Delimitation Exercises
Delimitation commissions have been set up four times in the past —1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002— under Delimitation Commission Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
The union government had suspended delimitation in 1976 until after the 2001 census so that states’ family planning programs would not affect their political representation in the Lok Sabha.
This had led to wide discrepancies in the size of constituencies, with the largest having over 3,000,000 electors, and the smallest less than 50,000.
Problems with Delimitation
- States that take little interest in population control could end up with a greater number of seats in Parliament. For example, the southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.
- increasing populations are being represented by a single representative.
- In 2008, Delimitation was done based on the 2001 census, but the total number of seats in the Assemblies and Parliament decided as per the 1971 Census was not changed.
The present delimitation of parliamentary constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002. However, the Constitution of India was specifically amended in 2002 not to have delimitation of constituencies till the first census after 2026. This was justified on the ground that a uniform population growth rate would be achieved throughout the country by 2026.
Thus, the present constituencies carved out on the basis of 2001 census shall continue to be in operation till the first census after 2026.
Present Delimitation of J&K and four Northeastern States
The Commission is mandated to delimit the Lok Sabha and Assembly Constituencies in J&K under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act,2019
- Two UTs of Jammu and Kashmir with an assembly and Ladakh without an assembly
The delimitation in J&K will be based on the Census of 2011 due to an amendment in the J&K Reorganisation Act.
While the provisions of the Delimitation Act 2002 will delimit – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
- Delimitation will be based on the 2001 census.
The Section 60 of the J&K Reorganisation Act,2019 stipulates that the number of seats in its Legislative Assembly will be increased to 114, from the present 107. Of these, 24 seats have been reserved for Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
The latest delimitation in other parts of India has been done as per the census of 2001