Bill to formalise redrawn constituencies tabled

March 10th, 2008 - 10:43 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The government Monday paved the way for formalising the redrawn parliamentary and assembly seats, according to the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission, by tabling the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2008. Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj tabled the Bill in the Lok Sabha to further amend the Representation of the People Act, 1950, in the light of the recommendations of the commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge Kuldip Singh.

The Bill is likely to be taken up for discussion in both houses of parliament soon.

Upcoming elections, including the parliamentary polls scheduled early next year, are to be held as per the new redrawn seats of the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

Justice Singh submitted the report earlier this year, recommending redrawing of electoral seats on the basis of the 2001 census.

Though the total number of seats will remain the same, the number of seats reserved for the Schedule Castes (SCs) and the Schedule Tribes (STs) will go up.

In the state assemblies, the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes seats will go up from 555 to 610 and the seats for the Scheduled Tribes from 527 to 545.

In the Lok Sabha, the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes will go up to 85 from the existing 79 after the delimitation, while those for the Scheduled Tribes will be up to 48 from 41. The number of general seats will go down to 410 from the existing 423.

The new constituency maps, drawn to reflect India’s latest demographic profile, also mean that many leaders will have to look for new seats now.

Many prominent politicians like Shivraj Patil (Latur), Somnath Chatterjee (Bolpur), Sachin Pilot (Dausa), Jitin Prasada (Shahjahanpur), Mulayam Singh Yadav (Etawah) and Kalyan Singh (Bulandshahr) will have to look for other constituencies as these seats will now be reserved for the Scheduled Castes candidates.

Under the constitution, a delimitation exercise has to be undertaken every 10 years based on the latest census report. In effect, this implies taking into account the demographic changes in the country and redrawing the constituency maps accordingly.

Such exercises were carried out till the 1970s and the last one took place on the basis of the 1971 census. However, southern states soon complained that while they were promoting population growth control, many other states, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, were getting higher representation in the Lok Sabha.

Moreover, the number of people in the SC/ST categories was going up across the country, necessitating greater representation in parliament and state assemblies.

The process remained in dispute for 30 years. The government then devised a way whereby the number of seats from each state was to be left untouched. But the demographic imbalance in people’s representation within the states was to be corrected and there were to be more reserved seats for the SC/ST.

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