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Delimitation should be based on 2031 Census

Topics Covered: Delimitation should be based on 2031 Census:


Context:

A paper released by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation (PMF) on the eve of the late President’s birth anniversary has suggested that the next delimitation exercise should be a two-step process:

  1. A Delimitation Commission should be set up to redraw boundaries of constituencies on the basis of the 2031 Census.
  2. A State Reorganisation Act be passed to split States into smaller ones.

Background:

The 84th Amendment to the Constitution in 2002 had put a freeze on the delimitation of Lok Sabha and State Assembly constituencies till the first Census after 2026. While the current boundaries were drawn on the basis of the 2001 Census, the number of Lok Sabha seats and State Assembly seats remained frozen on the basis of the 1971 Census.

Need for reconsideration:

The population according to the last census preceding the freeze was 50 crore, which in 50 years has grown to 130 crore. This has caused a massive asymmetry in the political representation in the country.

What is Delimitation?

Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.

Who carries out the exercise?

Delimitation is undertaken by a highly powerful commission. They are formally known as Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission.

  • These bodies are so powerful that its orders have the force of law and they cannot be challenged before any court.
  • Such commissions have been constituted at least four times in India — in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952; in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962; in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and last in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • The commissions’ orders are enforced as per the date specified by the President of India. Copies of these orders are laid before the Lok Sabha or the concerned Legislative Assembly. No modifications are permitted.

Composition of the Commission:

According to the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission appointed by the Centre has to have three members: a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson, and the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Previous delimitation commissions- powers and functions.
  2. Composition of the commission.
  3. Who can set up?
  4. Are changes allowed in final orders?
  5. Which are the constitution provisions related?

Mains Link:

How and why delimitation of constituencies is carried out? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.