What is Delimitation? What is the process of delimitation? Functions and duties of delimitation commission? What is the criticism? Read further to know more.
The consolidation of four districts with their constituent districts was recently approved by the Assam state cabinet.
The EC announced on December 27, 2022, that the Delimitation of Assam’s Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies would be based on data from the 2001 Census. There are currently 126 Assembly and 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam.
On May 5, 2022, the Delimitation Commission turned in its final proposal for Jammu and Kashmir. Six new legislative seats were proposed to be created for Jammu and one for Kashmir in the proposal.
What is Delimitation?
Delimitation is the act or process of establishing the boundaries of territorial constituencies in a nation to reflect changes in population. The Delimitation Commission must operate independently of executive direction.
The Constitution requires that the Commission’s decisions be final and cannot be challenged in court because doing so would indefinitely delay an election. The Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly cannot modify the Delimitation Commission’s orders once they have been laid before them.
- To ensure that all population segments are equally represented.
- Fair division of geographic areas to prevent election advantages for one political party over others.
- To adhere to the “One Vote, One Value” principle.
The Indian President appoints the Delimitation Commission, which cooperates with the Indian Election Commission.
- Retired Supreme Court judge
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Respective State Election Commissioners
What is the Process of Delimitation?
- After each Census, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act in accordance with Article 82.
- According to Article 170, after each Census, States are also divided into territorial constituencies in accordance with the Delimitation Act.
- The Union government creates a Delimitation Commission once the Act is in effect.
- In 1950–1951, the President conducted the first delimitation exercise with the assistance of the Election Commission.
- In 1952, the Delimitation Commission Act was passed.
- Under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972, and 2002, Delimitation Commissions were established four times: in 1952, 1963, 1973, and 2002.
- The delimitation was absent following the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.
How is delimitation done in areas which have disadvantaged groups?
- Depending on the percentage of SC or ST residents in a State, a certain number of seats must be reserved there.
- The Delimitation Commission examines the population distribution in each constituency after drawing the boundaries. ST is only allowed in the districts with the highest percentage of Scheduled Tribe residents.
- The Delimitation Commission considers two factors when deciding how to divide up Scheduled Castes.
- It chooses congressional districts where the population of Scheduled Castes is more prevalent.
- However, it also disperses these constituencies across the State’s various regions.
- Because the population of Scheduled Castes is typically distributed evenly across the nation, this is done.
- Every time the Delimitation exercise is carried out, these reserved constituencies can be switched out.
- Other underprivileged groups are not similarly protected by the Constitution.
Functions of the Delimitation Commission
The Delimitation Commission is a powerful organisation, and its decisions are binding. Its decisions cannot be contested in court. The copies of the orders are presented to the Lok Sabha and the relevant legislative assemblies, but no modifications are allowed.
- The Delimitation Commission must choose the number and boundaries of the constituencies in such a way that, as practically possible, the population of each seat is the same.
- The Commission also specifies which seats in areas with sizable scheduled castes and scheduled tribes population are to be reserved for those communities.
- If there is disagreement among the Commission members, the decision of the majority will be considered.
- The Commission publishes draught proposals for public comment in regional language newspapers as well as the Indian Gazette and official state gazetted.
- Additionally, it holds open meetings where the general public can voice their opinions orally or in writing.
- The draught proposal is amended if deemed necessary.
- The final order is published in the Gazettes and takes effect on the day that the President specifies.
Duties of the Delimitation Commission
On the basis of the most recent population census data, the Commission shall be responsible for readjusting the representation of the various territorial constituencies in the House of the People and of the various territorial constituencies in the Legislative Assembly of each state.
Delimitation Commission – Significance
- The Delimitation Commission of India has been regarded as having absolute jurisdiction, and any court or piece of legislation can never overturn a decision made by this commission.
- However, it has been demonstrated that these instructions from the Indian Delimitation Commission are being followed as of a specific date provided by the Indian President.
- A legislatively supported body that functions independently of the executive branch and political parties is the Delimitation Commission.
- To ensure that the population is roughly equal throughout all constituencies, it establishes the number and boundaries of constituencies.
- Identifies seats in areas with a significant population that are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Delimitation Commission – Criticism
- States that don’t care about population control might end up with more seats in the House of Representatives. States in the South that supported family planning ran the risk of having fewer seats available.
- The number of seats in the Assemblies and Parliament that were decided upon in 1971 remained the same despite delimitation being done in 2008 based on the 2001 census.
- In accordance with the constitution, there are a maximum of 550 Lok Sabha seats and 250 Rajya Sabha seats, respectively, and growing populations are each represented by a single representative.
- Another amendment has delayed this until 2026, even though the number of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats should have been unfrozen following the 2001 Census.
- This was justified on the grounds that by 2026, there would be a uniform population growth rate across the nation.
- A national consensus exercise should be started in order to resolve issues before 2026.
- The Finance Commission’s weighting of the population can be lowered to 10% or even 5%.
- The strength of the Lok Sabha is anticipated to increase from 543 to 888 when parliamentary constituency boundaries are redrawn, according to data from the 2011 Census. The Rajya Sabha could have 384 members instead of the current 245.
The Indian government established the Delimitation Commission of India, also referred to as the Boundary Commission of India, in accordance with the Delimitation Commission Act. The commission’s main duty is to redraw the boundaries of each assembly and Lok Sabha seat in light of a recent census.
Although it was anticipated that the limit on the number of Lok Sabha and Assemblies seats would be lifted after the 2001 Census, an amendment delayed it until 2026. This was supported by the prediction that by 2026, the nation’s population growth rate would be uniform.
Article Written by: Remya