NEW DELHI: The government has reduced the mandate of the Delimitation Commission, which was formed last year to demarcate seats in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland, by excluding the four North eastern states from its purview, at least for the time being.
Meanwhile, the panel has been granted a one-year extension to complete its delimitation work in Jammu and Kashmir beyond March 6.
The step, which comes after a panel headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai had laid the groundwork to start the delimitation exercise in the four northeastern states, is an effort to tide over a legal loophole.
The EC, not the Delimitation Commission, is mandated by Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act of 1950 to carry out delimitation in the four north-eastern states based on presidential order.
According to report, the government is considering amending Section 8A of the RP Act with retrospective effect to enable the Delimitation Commission to conduct the exercise in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Another important proposal under discussion is to introduce a constitutional amendment bill that would use the 2011 census data instead of the 2001 census data as the basis for delimitation in the four northeastern states, as mandated by the 87th constitutional amendment. The law ministry and the home ministry have received many representations to this effect, an official said.
The same delimitation panel can resume work on the four North eastern states once the required amendments are in place.
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