Topic covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Delimitation of Constituencies
What to study?
For prelims and mains: What is delimitation, why is it needed, how is it carried out and special provisions w.r.t to J&K.
Context: About six months after the State of Jammu and Kashmir was split into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, the government has moved to start the delimitation of Assembly constituencies in J&K.
- Bifurcation of J&K into two UTs has led to redrawing of Assembly constituency boundaries. While, the UT of Ladakh will not have its own legislature, J&K will. This would be similar to Puducherry or Delhi.
- Such delimitation was also necessitated in 2014 when Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were bifurcated.
What is Delimitation?
Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.
How it will be done?
The new state assembly shall have 114 seats (currently 107), out of which only 90 will be open for elections, and the remaining 24 will be shadow seats reserved for the areas of the erstwhile state that have been occupied by Pakistan (PoJK).
For the delimitation exercise, the population figures of 2011 census shall be taken as the basis.
The J&K Representation of the People Act 1957 has now been invalidated and, instead, delimitation will be done as per the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (as amended from time to time) and provisions of Sections 59, 60 of Act 34 of 2019.
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.
Sources: the Hindu.