The Delimitation Commission plays a crucial role in shaping the political landscape of India, tasked with the delineation of territorial constituencies in alignment with demographic changes.
According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), delimitation involves fixing the boundaries of legislative constituencies within a country or a province.
The Delimitation Commission, a high-powered body, has been constituted four times in India, notably in 1952, 1963, 1973, and 2002 under different Acts.
- Delimitation involves the redrawing of boundaries for Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats to reflect shifts in population distribution.
- The primary goal is to ensure equitable representation by adjusting constituencies in response to demographic changes.
- It strives for a fair distribution of geographical areas, preventing any political party from gaining an undue advantage in elections.
Legal Authority and Composition:
- The Delimitation Commission in India is vested with significant legal authority, and its orders carry the force of law, immune to judicial scrutiny.
- Comprising a retired Supreme Court judge, the Chief Election Commissioner, and State Election Commissioners, the Commission is appointed by the Union government after the enactment of a Delimitation Act.
- Article 82 of the Constitution empowers Parliament to enact a Delimitation Act following each Census.
- The Commission’s mandate includes determining the number and boundaries of constituencies, aiming for an equitable population distribution.
- Special provisions allocate seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes based on population demographics.
- Draft proposals of the Delimitation Commission are published in official gazettes and vernacular papers for public scrutiny.
- Public sittings are held to gather feedback, and the Commission considers objections and suggestions, making adjustments to the initial proposals.
Finalization and Implementation:
- The final order of the Commission is published in the Gazette of India and State Gazette, becoming effective on a date specified by the President.
As of recent developments, the Election Commission of India has initiated the delimitation process for Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in Assam, using Census data from 2001.
Emphasizing its autonomy, the Delimitation Commission functions independently of executive influence, and its orders are constitutionally deemed final, precluding any legal challenge.