CommissionsGeneral Studies II

Delimitation Commission


Delimitation Commission comprising of Chairperson Retd. Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, Ex-Officio Member Shri Sushil Chandra (Election Commissioner) and Ex-Officio Member, Shri K.K Sharma (State Election Commissioner, J&K) today held a meeting in New Delhi with the Associate Members from Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, for seeking their suggestion/views on the process of delimitation in respect of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

What is Delimitation? 

  • Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.
  • The job of delimitation is assigned to a high power body. Such a body is known as Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission.
  • In India, such Delimitation Commissions have been constituted 4 times – in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952, in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962, in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • 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.
  • These orders come into force on a date to be specified by the President of India in this behalf.
  • The copies of its orders are laid before the House of the People and the State Legislative Assembly concerned, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.

Why Delimitation?

  • 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”

How is delimitation done?

  • After every census, the Parliament will enact a Delimitation Act, as per Article 82.
  • As per Article 170, the states also get classified into territorial constituencies after every census, according to the said Act.
  • Once the Act is enacted, the Central Government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
  • The Commission then exercises the delimitation.

Delimitation Commission

The Delimitation Commission is a high-level body set up by an act of the Parliament.

  • It is appointed by the country’s President.
  • It works in tandem with the Election Commission of India.
  • Delimitation Commission Members:
    • A retired judge of the Supreme Court
    • The Chief Election Commissioner
    • State Election Commissioners (of the respective states)

Functions of Delimitation Commission

The Delimitation Commission is a high power body whose orders have the force of law. Its orders cannot be questioned in a court of law. The copies of the orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies concerned, but no change is permitted in them.

  • The main task of the commission is redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.
  • The representation from each State is not changed during this exercise. However, the number of SC and ST seats in a state are changed in accordance with the census.
  • The Delimitation Commission has to determine the number and boundaries of constituencies in such a manner that the population of all seats is the same, as far as possible practically.
  • The Commission also identifies the seats to be reserved for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes communities, in areas where their population is significant.
  • If the members of the Commission have differing opinions, then the decision of the majority will be taken into consideration.
  • The Commission releases draft proposals to the public through the Gazette of India and the official gazettes of states, and also in regional language newspapers.
  • It also conducts public sittings wherein the public’s opinion is heard through written or oral representations.
  • If found appropriate, changes are made to the draft proposal.
  • The final order is published in the Gazettes and comes into effect by a date specified by the President.
YearDetailsBased on
1952First delimitation exercise post-independence.1951 census
1963First delimitation exercise after the reorganisation of states in 1956. Only single-seat constituencies1961 census
1973 1971 census
2002No changes in Lok Sabha seats or their apportionment between the various states2001 census
After 2031 censusFollowing the 84th amendment to the Constitution, in 2002, no delimitation of constituencies will be done till the first census after 2026.[2]2031 census

Problems with Delimitation

  • States that take little interest in population control could end up with a greater number of seats in Parliament. The southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.
  • In 2008, Delimitation was done based on the 2001 census, but the total number of seats in the Assemblies and Parliament decided as per the 1971 Census was not changed.
  • The constitution has also capped the number of Lok Shaba & Rajya Sabha seats to a maximum of 550 & 250 respectively and increasing populations are being represented by a single representative.

Steps to be taken

  • national consensus exercise should be started to sort out issues much before 2026.
  • The weightage given by the Finance Commission to population can be reduced to 10%, or even 5%.

Way Forward

  • Although the freeze on the number of seats in Lok Sabha and Assemblies should have been lifted after the 2001 Census, another amendment has postponed this until 2026.
  • This was justified on the ground that a uniform population growth rate would be achieved throughout the country by 2026.

Source: PIB

One thought on “Delimitation Commission

  • Excellent Explanation


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