On 27th December 2022, the Election Commission began the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Assam by using the Census data of 2001 for the readjustment seats. The Commission said a ban has been put in place effective January 1, 2023, on the creation of new administrative units in the state till the exercise is complete.

 

Details

  • On 27th December 2022, the Election Commission began the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Assam by using the Census data of 2001 for the readjustment seats.
  • The Commission has put a ban effective from January 1, 2023, on the creation of new administrative units in the state till the exercise is complete.
  • However, a day before the ban came into effect, the Assam Government approved the merger of four districts with the districts they had been carved out of earlier.
  • The mergers will bring down the count of districts in Assam from 35 to 31.

 

What is Delimitation?

  • According to the Election Commission, the word ‘delimitation’ is defined as “the act or process of fixing limits/boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body”.
  • In the Indian context, the exercise of redrawing the boundaries of Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly Constituencies in a region is known as delimitation.
  • In this process, the number of seats allocated to a particular state/UT in Lok Sabha or in the Legislative Assembly may vary.
      • For example – Delhi, a union territory with legislative assembly, has 7 Lok Sabha constituencies while in the Legislative Assembly it has 70 constituencies.

 

Why is it needed?

  • Delimitation helps in redrawing the boundaries (based on the data of the last Census) in such a way that the population of all the constituencies, as far as practicable, remain equal throughout the State/UT.
  • It ensures a fair division of geographical areas so that all political parties or candidates contesting elections have a level playing field in terms of a number of voters.

 

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 82 and Article 170 of the Constitution empowers the Parliament to readjust the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies of States respectively, after every census.
  • Accordingly, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Commission Act and an independent high-powered panel known as the Delimitation Commission is constituted to carry out the exercise of delimitation.
  • The Parliament has enacted the Delimitation Commission Acts in 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 for this purpose. There was no Delimitation Commission Act after the 1981 and 1991 census.
  • The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census data under the provisions of Delimitation Commission Act, 2002. The next Delimitation Commission will be set up after 2026.
  • Further, Article 330 and Article 332 of the Constitution provide for re-fixing the number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies of the states, on the basis of the 2001 census.

 

About Delimitation Commission

  • The Delimitation Commission is a high-powered committee entrusted with the task of drawing and redrawing of boundaries of different constituencies for state assembly and Lok Sabha election.
  • It is appointed by the President and works in collaboration with the Election Commission.
  • The Commission consists of —
      • A retired or working Supreme Court Judge (chairperson)
      • Election Commissioner
      • Concerned State Election Commissioners
  • The Commission’s orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.
  • The Commission’s orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies concerned, but they cannot effect any modifications in the orders.