Delimitation in Assam
Why in News?
- Election Commission begins Delimitation process in Assam.
- The Election Commission of India began the delimitation of Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Assam on December 27,2022 by using the Census data of 2001 for the readjustment of seats.
- Following a request from the Union Law Ministry in November 2022, the procedure to redistribute Assam’s assembly and parliamentary seats in accordance with Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, has been started.
- Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act allows for the delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur or Nagaland.
- On the basis of the 1971 Census, Assam’s seats were last redrawn in 1976 in accordance with the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 1972.
- According to the Commission, until the exercise is finished, a ban on the creation of new administrative entities in the state is in effect as of January 1, 2023.
- Reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will be as per Articles 330 & 332 of the Constitution.
Status of current representation:
- The State has 14 Lok Sabha, 126 Assembly and 07 Rajya Sabha seats.
- The term of the current Assam Legislative Assembly will end on May 20, 2026.
Opposition to Delimitation Exercise:
- Opposition pirates in the state are questioning why the delimitation exercise is being done on the basis of the 2001 Census, and not the 2011 Census.
- According to critics, the 2011 Census figures are available and the 2021 Census process must also be accounted for to conduct the delimitation process.
- As mandated under Article 170 of the Constitution, census figures (2001) shall be used for the purpose of readjustment of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in the State.
- Assam Chief Minister is critical of the criterion of delimiting Assembly constituencies on the basis of population, as it disincentivizes government’s two-child policy.
- Concerned Pressure Groups in Assam had opposed the last delimitation exercise insisting that it should be carried out only after the completion of National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise to weed out “illegal immigrants” was completed.