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What is delimitation and how is it done ?

news-details Image Source Dec 02, 2021 11:46 IST · 2 min read

The process of redrawing electoral boundaries, is conducted across U.S. Congressional and State legislative districts every decade, following the publication of the results of the population census.

Gerrymandering or redistricting is the process of redrawing electoral boundaries.

Delimitation

In India, political redistricting is handled by the Delimitation Commission of India.

Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats to represent changes in population. In this process, the number of seats allocated to a state may also change.

Under Article 82 of Indian Constitution, Delimitation commission is constituted by the Central Government after the Parliament has enacted a Delimitation Act after every census.

Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.

Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times - 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002.

The first delimitation exercise was carried out by the President (with the help of the Election Commission) in 1950-51.

There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Census.

The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 froze the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to the states and the division of each State into territorial constituencies till the year 2000 at the 1971 level.

Further, the 84th Amendment Act of 2001 extended this ban on readjustment for another 25 years (i.e., upto year 2026), without affecting the total number of seats based on the 1971 census.

The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 also empowered the government to undertake readjustment and rationalisation of territorial constituencies in the states on the basis of the population figures of 1991 census.

Later, the 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the delimitation of constituencies on the basis of the 2001 census and not 1991 census.

Hence, the current status of delimitation in India is frozen up to 2026 as per 2001 census.

Delimitation Commission

The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India (ECI).

It is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.

Its members include: Retired Supreme Court judge, Chief Election Commissioner and Respective State Election Commissioners.

In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.

The commission determines the number and boundaries of constituencies to make the population of all constituencies nearly equal.

It also identifies seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, wherever their population is relatively large.

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