Assam delimitation draft

Context
Recently, the Election Commission (EC) has released a draft delimitation document for Assam, proposing a change in boundaries of several Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies of the state.
  • Delimitation’ is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats to represent changes in population dynamics.
About the move:
  • The decision aims is to provide equal representation for equal population segments, to ensure that no political party has an advantage.
  • Delimitation is a constitutional exercise carried out based on preceding Census figures (year 2001 in this case).
  • While the number of seats (126 Assembly and 14 Lok Sabha) are being retained, the EC has proposed not just changes in geographical boundaries, but also an increase in the number of reserved constituencies for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Scheduled Castes (SC).
  • Key changes proposed:
    • Reserved seats increased: SC assembly seats have increased from 8 to 9; ST assembly seats have increased from 16 to 19.
    • Districts with autonomous councils (administered under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution) get more seats: one assembly seat increased in West Karbi Anglong District; three assembly seats increased in the Bodo Territorial Region
    • Change in nomenclature: Kaliabor Lok Sabha constituency now named ‘Kaziranga’.
Need of such an exercise:
  • To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
  • Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  • To follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.
Possible effects:
  • The constituencies of several sitting legislators and parliamentarians — across parties — may be impacted by virtue of a change in its reservation status or because it has ceased to exist altogether (either its name has changed or boundaries realigned or both).
Constitutional Provisions:
  • Article 170 of the Constitution, census figures (2001) shall be used for the purpose of readjustment of constituencies.
  • Reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be provided as per Articles 330 and 332 of the Constitution.
The working of Delimitation Commission:
  • The Delimitation commissioner Boundary commission of India is a commission established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act.
  • The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
  • Composition:
  • Retired Supreme Court judge
    • Chief Election Commissioner
    • Respective State Election Commissioners
    • The representation from each State is not changed during this exercise. However, the number of SC and ST seats in a state is changed in accordance with the census.
    • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.
    • The Commission’s orders cannot be challenged in any court of law.

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