New Delhi, Sep 11
The Centre is preparing to move an amendment to the Representation of People’e Act, 1950 in the upcoming Parliament session to ensure sound legal footing for delimitation of Constituencies in four North Eastern States.
An amendment is proposed to Section 8A of the Representation of People’e Act, 1950 to allow the recently constituted Delimitation Commission to redraw the boundaries of Constituencies in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.
The above Section so far allows only the Election Commission to conduct the delimitation exercise in the four States. The proposed amendment will allow the Delimitation Commission/an agency approved by the Union Government/an arm of the Election Commission to conduct the exercise.
While the Law Ministry had notified the setting up of a Delimitation Commission in March this year for redrawing Constituency boundaries in Jammu & Kashmir and the four North Eastern States, the poll panel’s former legal advisor SK Mendiratta red flagged that such a notification would be considered illegal as the Parliament only mandated the ECI to conduct delimitation in the four States as per section 8A of the RP Act.
Taking note of the legalities involved, the Law Ministry is now moving the Representation of People(Amendment) Bill, 2020 to make the relevant changes in Section 8A.
Following the Delimitation Act of 2002, delimitation was conducted in all States on the basis of the 2001 census except in the four North Eastern States where it was deferred due to security concerns.
In February, the Centre cancelled the earlier notification of deferment and announced that the delimitation exercise would be conducted now along with J&K on the basis of 2001 census.
The census date issue has also become contentious in the North Eastern States and it has been referred by the Delimitation Commission to the Home Ministry for consideration.