Introduction

Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country to represent changes in population.

  • To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
  • Fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  • To follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.

Process of Delimitation

  • Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
  • Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.
  • Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
  • The first delimitation exercise was carried out by the President (with the help of the Election Commission) in 1950-51.
  • The Delimitation Commission Act was enacted in 1952.
  • Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
  • There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.

Delimitation Commission

  • The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
  • Composition:
    • Retired Supreme Court judge
    • Chief Election Commissioner
    • Respective State Election Commissioners
  • Functions:
    • To determine the number and boundaries of constituencies to make population of all constituencies nearly equal.
    • To identify seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, wherever their population is relatively large.
  • In case of difference of opinion among members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority prevails.
  • The Delimitation Commission in India is a high power body whose orders have the force of law and cannot be called in question before any court.

Current Position of Delimitation

  • In the 2009 General elections, 499 out of total 543 Parliamentary constituencies were newly delimited constituencies.
  • This affected the National Capital Region of Delhi, The Union territory of Puducherry and all other states except J&K, Arunachal Pradesh,Assam,Jharkhand,Manipur and Nagaland.