New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought responses from the Assam government and the Centre on a plea seeking to defer the delimitation of Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the state of Assam until the completion of Census 2021.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy agreed to examine the plea, which challenged the resumption of the process of delimitation for the state through February 28, and a three-member delimitation commission was also formed during the ongoing lockdown to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
The process of delimitation of the constituencies had been stopped in 2008, with respect to Assam, Nagaland and Meghalaya, and it was supposed to be resumed after a gap of 12 years. The top court issued notices to the Centre, Assam government and the delimitation commission and asked them to file their responses on the plea which has challenged the delimitation process based on 2001 Census.
“Surprisingly, the same is based on the Census figures taken 20 years ago, 2001 Census, failing to take into account the subsequent addition of voters in their respective constituency,” argued the plea filed through advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi.
The petitioners, two Assam residents, contended that this defeats the idea behind the exercise of delimitation, and sought to defer the process of delimitation until the completion of Census 2021, utilising the recent population figures.
The plea also contended that one of the key reasons for deferring the delimitation process in Assam was the conclusion of NRC, which is still pending. Therefore, there was no necessity to have continued the delimitation process on the 20-year old population figures.
“The decision to conduct the pending process of delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies, is not only an arbitrary and hasty decision, but stands contrary to the very idea behind conducting delimitation, having proposed to be conducted not on the basis of the population figures obtained from the most recent census, but rather on the basis of stale figures of 2001 census,” the plea said.