What is delimitation? The word Delimitation means the act or process of defining the limits or borders of geographical constituencies in a country to represent demographic fluctuations.
What is a delimitation commission? In layman’s terms, this is a high-level authority whose decisions have legal force. Its decisions cannot be challenged in a court of law. The orders are placed before the Lok Sabha and the respective legislative houses, but no changes are authorised. The President of India appoints the Delimitation Commission, which collaborates with the Election Commission of India.
This commission comprises a retired supreme court judge, chief election commissioner and state election commissioners.
What is a Delimitation Commission?
The Delimitation Commission has its relevance in UPSC preparation. This topic comes under the subtopics for GS Paper 2.Delimiting means the act or process of defining the limits or borders of geographical constituencies in a country or province with a legislative body is referred to as delimitation. In India, similar Delimiting Committees were established four times: in 1952 under the Act, 1952, in 1963 under the Act, 1962, in 1973 under the Act, 1972, and in 2002 under the Act, 2002. According to Article 82 of the Constitution, the Parliament must pass a Delimitation Act following each census. Following the Act’s enactment, the Central Government appoints a Delimitation Commission.
The Delimitation Commission has been constituted to demarcate the parliamentary boundaries under the delimitation act. As a result, the current constituencies established based on the 2001 census will remain in effect until the first census after 2026. In India, the Delimitation Commission is a high-level authority whose rulings have the force of law and cannot be challenged in court.
What is the Delimitation Act?
The Delimitation Act is an Act to provide for the readjustment of the allocation of seats in the House of People to the States, the total number of seats in each State’s Legislative Assembly, the division of each State and each Union territory with a Legislative Assembly into territorial constituencies for elections to the House of People and the Legislative Assemblies of the States and Union territories.
Why is Delimitation Enacted?
The Delimitation Commission is an important topic in UPSC. This has recently been in news due to the Jammu and Kashmir delimitation exercise. This Committee is enacted due to the following reasons:
#To have equal representation for the similar numbered segments of the population.
#To have a fair division so that no political party has an undue advantage.
#To abide by one vote one value policy.
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How is The Delimitation Commission Act Enacted?
Now that we have clarified the meaning of the delimitation commission and also discussed what the delimitation act means, let us take a look at how it is performed.
Firstly, this committee has been set up by the honourable President after every census. As per article 82, the Parliament then enacts the Delimitation Act. The functions of the committee range from-
#Determining the boundaries in constituencies in such a manner so that the population of all seats are the same.
#Where there is a significant proportion of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, the commission recognises them.
#In case of differing opinions of the members, the final decision is taken after majority consideration.
#The committee releases the draft proposals for the general public in gazettes and regional language newspapers.
#Public sittings are conducted wherein the opinions are heard.
#Appropriate changes are made to the draft if such a proposal arises.
#The final order is then published in a gazette and the President takes the final call on this.
Chairman of Delimitation Commission
The most recent delimiting committee was established on July 12, 2002, following the 2001 census, with Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired Supreme Court Judge, as its Chairperson.
How many Delimitation Commission was Constituted?
In 1950-51, the Indian President with the assistance of the Election Commission undertook the first delimiting exercise. In 1952, the Delimitation Commission Act was passed.
After that four Committees were established:1952, 1963,1972,2002.
There were no similar Committees following the 1991 and 1981 censuses.
Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir
The division of Jammu and Kashmir state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh has made electoral constituency delimitation unavoidable. The delimitation commission of Jammu and Kashmir is an important current affairs topic.
This Committee was established on March 6, 2020, to carry out the process in Jammu & Kashmir following the termination of its special status. This commission is led by Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai and consists of an election commissioner, the state election commissioner, and five J&K associate members.
The invitation of 14 political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday, June 24, has reignited speculation about when the Union Territory’s Assembly elections can be held, with a discussion on the delimitation exercise expected to take place during the meeting.
The Committee is tasked with delimiting the Union Territory’s constituencies “in line with the requirements of Part V of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019) and the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002 (33 of 2002).”
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How the Delimitation Exercise has Shaped Politics in J and K?
The number of seats in the Union Territory would be increased from 107 to 114 under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. However, this does not include the 24 seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). With these 24 removed, the Assembly’s effective strength would increase to 90 from 83 previously.
The Committee for Jammu and Kashmir was given a one-year extension in March, one year after it was established. They had a meeting in February of this year, but three of its associate members — National Conference MPs Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone, and Hasnain Masoodi – did not attend. Union Minister Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma, both BJP leaders and J&K MPs, were also present.
At the discussion, the two BJP leaders allegedly requested that the committee examine not just population as a factor in the delimitation process, but also topographical factors for Jammu. While serious concerns have been raised about how the delimiting process may wind up favouring the Jammu area over Kashmir in terms of seats, arguments have also been made about how the Jammu region has been underrepresented, with requests for an increase in its share.
Delimitation Commission in the North Eastern States
In 2020 similar exercise was supposed to be carried out in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland in line with the terms of the Delimitation Act, 2002.
The delimiting process in Assam was supposed to be resumed after a 12-year hiatus, which was put in place in 2008 when the state’s condition was judged to be unfavourable due to a significant danger to peace and public order.
According to the latest reports, the government has now cut back on its previous plans to conduct a delimiting exercise in the North-Eastern states.
What is the Issue with this Commission?
The underlying issues of this Committee and Act are as follows:
#States that are unconcerned about population management may wind up with more members in Parliament. The southern states that advocated family planning risked having their seats cut.
#Delimitation was done in 2008 based on the 2001 census, although the overall number of seats in the Assemblies and Parliament set in 1971 was not modified.
#The constitution also limits the number of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats to a maximum of 550 and 250, respectively, and growing populations are represented by a single lawmaker.
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What Steps could be Taken in the Future?
#To resolve concerns before 2026, a national consensus exercise should be launched.
#The weightage accorded to the population by the Finance Commission can be lowered to 10% or even 5%.
#Although the cap on the number of Lok Sabha and Assemblies seats was supposed to be lifted after the 2001 Census, another amendment delayed this until 2026.
#This was justified because, by 2026, the country will have attained a consistent population growth rate.
Is the Delimitation Commission a Constitutional Body?
A constitutional body in India is a body or institute created by the Indian Constitution. They may only be formed or altered by passing a constitutional amendment law, not a normal, government, or private bill. The above-mentioned committee is not a constitutional body.
Constitutional Body in India
Let us discuss the various constitutional bodies created in India:
#Election Committee -Article 324
Union Public Service Committee- Article-315 to 323
State Public Service Committee- Article-315 to 323
National Committee for SCs-Article-338
National Committee for STs-Article-338 A
Comptroller and Auditor General of India-Article-148
Attorney General of India- Article-76
Advocate General of the State- Article-165
Special officer for linguistic Minorities- Article-350 B
What is the Difference Between the Constitutional and Non-Constitutional Bodies?
In layman’s terms, a constitutional body is not responsible to any lawmaker, but a non-constitutional entity may be subject to lawmakers depending on the nature of its formation.
CAG, the Election Commission of India, and other constitutional bodies are examples. They operate autonomously, and their powers are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Indian parliament.
Non-constitutional entities, such as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, the Competition Commission of India, and others, are created by legislation. As a result, they are susceptible to the exercise of authority by the government in this situation.
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The Non- Constitutional Bodies also play an important role in our Indian Constitution.
#They are established by a Parliamentary Act.
#Statutes are referred to as such because they are laws enacted by Parliament or the legislature.
#These bodies are referred to as statutory bodies since their authority is derived from statutes or laws enacted by Parliament.
We hope that you have gained clarity regarding the delimitation commission and act from this article. The Civil Service Examination is conducted every year to recruit officers for 24 services. The examination process takes place in three stages namely the preliminary exam, mains and the interview. With every stage, the level of difficulty rises. Since the passing percentage of this exam is so low, many candidates end up giving multiple attempts at this exam. Since the passing percentage at this examination is so low, most aspirants start their preparation a year early.
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