What is the Delimitation Commission?
Delimitation is the process of redrawing limits for specific territorial constituencies in a country to reflect population changes based on current census data for the elections. Under the rules of the Delimitation Commission Act, the Delimitation of Constituencies must be done by the commission as an independent panel.
- It is a high-level or high-power body that has been put by an Act of Parliament, and the orders of the Commission are part of the legal action, so no one can question these orders in a court of law.
- The purpose behind the same is to set boundaries or fix them for constituencies all over the country.
- The sole purpose behind the Commission is “One Vote One Value.”
- Delimitation Commission is also known as the boundary commission.
- The President of India appoints the Delimitation Commission and it works in association with the Election Commission of India.
Delimitation Commission Act
The process of delimitation must be carried out in a specified manner for its smooth functioning by following the below-mentioned steps:
- As per Article 82, the Delimitation Act needs to be enacted by the Parliament once every cycle of the census is done.
- According to Article 170 of the same Act, States also get divided into territorial constituencies after every census.
- Once the Act is passed and brought to power, it is the Central or the Union Government that has to set up a Delimitation Commission.
- Once the Commission is given the powers, then they come out with delimitation and related policies.
Composition of Delimitation Commission
The Delimitation Commission members include the following
- Retired Supreme Court judge
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Respective State Election Commissioners
Delimitation Commission Purpose
The process of establishing boundaries or limits of Lok Sabha constituencies as well as state assemblies to represent population changes is the basic purpose of the Delimitation Commission of India. The redrawing of limits every year is based on the recently concluded census. For example, presently, the delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies is based on the 2001 census.
This delimitation of constituencies helps allocate the number of Lok Sabha seats to the various Indian states and that of the legislative assemblies of each state. The seats can alter based on the survey conducted by the Delimitation Commission.
Delimitation Commission for the Disadvantaged Groups
The Delimitation Commission has separate modules to work in areas with a greater population of people belonging to disadvantaged groups. Here's the detailed procedure -
- The quota in constituencies is fixed after going through the census of SC/ST populations in the particular state. Thereafter, the Delimitation Commission studies the population composition in each constituency. The constituencies with the maximum population of people belonging to Scheduled Tribes are reserved for ST.
- Since the Scheduled Caste or SC population is spread pretty evenly across the country, the Delimitation Commission generally tends to pick a handful of constituencies with more SC population. These constituencies can be juxtaposed in different delimitation exercises.
- The commission generally makes reservations for SC and ST categories only. No other disadvantaged groups come into its vicinity.
Jammu Kashmir Delimitation Commission
The Delimitation Commission 2020 for J&K was set up because the erstwhile J&K state had 111 seats, 46 in Kashmir, 37 in Jammu, and 4 in Ladakh; plus 24 seats reserved for Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The Jammu Kashmir Delimitation Commission Members are
- Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai
- Sushil Chandra
- former chief election commissioner of India
- J&K election commissioner, K.K. Gupta
The J&K Delimitation Commission proposed various changes, but the following got the approval of the Union Government. The Union Government, through an official notification, approved the J&k Delimitation Commission proposals. The Delimitation Commission has seen the Jammu & Kashmir region as one single Union Territory.
The Delimitation Commission Jammu Kashmir made the following changes-
- The legislative Assembly seats were increased to 7. Six in Jammu (now 43 seats) and one in Kashmir (47 seats).
- Reservation of seats for ST - 9 seats and for SC candidates, 7 seats have been reserved.
- Removal of the regional distinction between Jammu and Kashmir and treating it as one. This was done by combining of Anantnag region in Kashmir with Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu to carve out Anantnag-Rajouri as a Parliamentary constituency.
- Two seats are reserved for the Kashmiri Pandit community nomination.
The Delimitation Commission J&K did not make any delimitation for the 24 seats reserved for the Pakistan-occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Delimitation Commission of India [Timeline]
The Delimitation Commission was appointed by the President of the country, taking the help of the Election Commission in 1950-51 as part of the very first exercise.
- So far there have been four such commissions after the initial Act was enacted in 1952, with the commissions being set up in 1952, 1963, 1972, and 2002.
- The census of 1981 and 1991 did not see any commissions as such.
Duties of the Delimitation Commission
The Delimitation Commission is a high-level body that has the duty to manage the different territorial constituencies and their representation in the Lok Sabha. It is done by the House of the People and Legislative Assembly of every state in the country based on the current population figures as collected according to the census statistics.
- The commission ensures equal representation to equal parts of a population.
- Geographical areas are divided fairly so that one political party doesn’t have the edge over others in an election.
Problems with the Delimitation Commission
The major problem that was behind the Delimitation was that States were bound to end up with a larger number of seats in Parliament that took little interest in population control. The southern states were at a loss in such cases.
- The total number of seats in the Parliament and the Legislative Assembly that was fixed as per the 1971 census saw no changes, even in 2008, when the delimitation was based on the census of 2001.
- A cap that has been put by the Constitution of India on the maximum number of seats in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha has made it possible for a single representative to represent increasing populations after the delimitation.
Delimitation Commission UPSC
Delimitation Commission finds its relevance in the UPSC Syllabus. This topic holds great significance for aspirants preparing for the IAS Exam. The UPSC Previous Year Question Papers for Prelims & Mains would give an idea about the types of questions asked on this topic. This article covers Delimitation Commission UPSC notes that would help the candidates during their preparation.
Other Important UPSC Notes