Delimitation Commission of India
Commission overview
Formed1951
(71 years ago)
 (1951)
Jurisdiction India
HeadquartersNew Delhi, India
Commission executive
  • Chairperson
Parent departmentGovernment of India

The Delimitation commission or 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. The representation from each State is not changed during this exercise. However, the number of SC and ST seats in a state are 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 is a powerful and independent body whose orders cannot be challenged in any court of law. The orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the respective State Legislative Assemblies. However, modifications are not permitted.

History

Delimitation commissions have been set up four times in the past — 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 — under Delimitation Commission Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.

The union government had suspended delimitation in 1976 until after the 2001 census so that states' family planning programs would not affect their political representation in the Lok Sabha. This had led to wide discrepancies in the size of constituencies, with the largest having over three million electors, and the smallest less than 50,000. [1]

No. Year Details Based on Seats
Lok Sabha Assembly
1 1952 First delimitation exercise post-independence. 1951 census 494
2 1963 First delimitation exercise after the reorganisation of states in 1956. Only single-seat constituencies 1961 census 522 3771
3 1973 1971 census 543 3997
4 2002 No changes in Lok Sabha seats or their apportionment between the various states 2001 census 543 4123
5 2026 Following the 84th amendment to the Constitution, in 2002, Delimitation is to be done after 2026 if not postponed.

The base year will be 2021 population. However the population control policy will be kept in center of this.[2]

2021 census

Delimitation Commissions

1952

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The Delimitation Commission of 1952 was created due to the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order, 1951.[3] Justice N Chandrasekhara Aiyar, a retired justice of the Supreme Court, was its chairman in 1953.[4][5]

1963

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Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order, 1961[6]

1973

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The delimitaiton commission of 1973 was chaired by Justice J L Kapur, a retired justice of the Supreme Court.[7] The commission recommended the increase of the seats in the Lok Sabha from 522 to 542 (later increased to 543 with the addition of one more seat for the new state of Sikkim).[8] It also recommended increase the total number of assembly seats across all states and Union Territories in the country from 3771 to 3997 (including 32 for Sikkim's legislative assembly).

2002

The most recent delimitation commission was set up on 12 July 2002 after the 2001 census with Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired Judge of the Supreme Court as its Chairperson. The Commission has submitted its recommendations. In December 2007, the Supreme Court on a petition issued notice to the central government asking reasons for non implementation. On 4 January 2008, the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) decided to implement the order from the Delimitation Commission.[9] The recommendations of the Commission was approved by President Pratibha Patil on 19 February. This means that all future elections in India for states covered by the commission will be held under the newly formed constituencies.[10]

The present delimitation of parliamentary constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002. The assembly election in Karnataka, conducted in three phases in May 2008, was the first to use the new boundaries as drawn by the 2002 delimitation commission.[11]

The tenure of the Delimitation Commission lasted until 31 May 2008.[12] The delimitation orders issued by the Commission were given effect from 19 February 2008 for most states and union territories and 20 March 2008 for Tripura and Meghalaya, by a presidential order.[13] The orders regarding Jharkhand were nullified till 2026 by inserting section 10B into the Delimitation Act, 2002[14]

The delimitation of four north-eastern states was deferred due to security risks, by four separate presidential orders, all issued on 8 February 2008, for Assam,[15] Arunachal Pradesh,[16] Nagaland[17] and Manipur.[18] The order regarding Assam was rescinded on 28 February 2020.[19] Subsequently, the Government of India has reconstituted the Delimitation Commission for these four states as well as the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on 6 March 2020,[20] under the chairpersonship of former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai. In March 2021, the four north-eastern states were removed from the purview of the reconstituted Commission.[21]

Next Delimitation Commission

The present delimitation of parliamentary constituencies within states, has been done on the basis of the 2001 census, under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002. However, the Constitution of India was specifically amended (84th amendment) in 2002, not to have interstate delimitation of constituencies till 2026.[22] Thus, the present constituencies carved out on the basis of the 2001 census shall continue to be in operation till 2026 and later it can be done on the basis of population 2021.[23]

Apportionment of Parliamentary and Assembly seats

Up until 1976, after every Indian Census the seats of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and State legislative assemblies of India were re-distributed respectively throughout the country so as to have equal population representation from every seat. The apportionment was done thrice as per 1951, 1961 and 1971 population census. However, during The Emergency, through Forty-second Amendment the government froze the total Parliamentary and Assembly seats in each state till 2001 Census.[24] This was done, mainly, due to wide discrepancies in family planning among the states. Thus, it gives time to states with higher fertility rates to implement family planning to bring the fertility rates down.[24]

Even though the boundaries of constituencies were altered in 2001 to equate population among the parliamentary and assembly seats; the number of Lok Sabha seats that each state has and those of legislative assemblies has remained unaltered since 1971 census and may only be changed after 2026 as the constitution was again amended (84th amendment to Indian Constitution) in 2002 to continue the freeze on the total number of seats in each state till 2026.[25] This was mainly done as states which had implemented family planning widely like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Punjab would stand to lose many parliamentary seats representation and states with poor family planning programs and higher fertility rates like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan would adversely gain many of the seats transferred from better-performing states.[26]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Election Commission of India". Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Eighty Fourth Amendment". Indiacode.nic.in. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  3. ^ "DPACO (1951) - Archive Delimitation Orders - Election Commission of India". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. Chandrasekhara Aiyar". Archived from the original on 8 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Extraordinary Gazette of India, 1955, No. 458". 14 January 1955.
  6. ^ "DPACO (1961) - Archive Delimitation Orders - Election Commission of India". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Delimitation of constituencies". 5 September 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2021. There after only two Delimitation commissions one in 1975 purportedly based on cencus[sic] of 1971 headed by J.L Kapur ...
  8. ^ "DPACO (1976) - Archive Delimitation Orders - Election Commission of India". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  9. ^ Delimitation process now gets CCPA nod- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times
  10. ^ Delimitation notification comes into effect - The Hindu 20 February 2008
  11. ^ Delimitation may kick off with Karnataka
  12. ^ Gazette of India notification
  13. ^ Gazette of India notification
  14. ^ Section 10B of Delimitation Act, 2002, as inserted by amendment of 2008, from India Code
  15. ^ Gazette of India notification
  16. ^ Gazette of India notification
  17. ^ Gazette of India notification
  18. ^ Gazette of India notification
  19. ^ Gazette of India notification
  20. ^ Gazette of India notification
  21. ^ "Gazette notification dated 3 March 2021" (PDF). Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Eighty Fourth Amendment". Indiacode.nic.in. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  23. ^ Election Commission of India - FAQs
  24. ^ a b A Bill with limitations - Frontline 18 August 2001
  25. ^ The Hindu: Delimitation of constituencies 17 September 2001[dead link]
  26. ^ Fertility Is Power: Mother Of All Paradoxes - The Outlook