The delimitation process in Assam will continue, but the Supreme Court will examine whether the Election Commission can carry out the process on its own. Delimitation used to be a joint effort that also included courts, but the government had handed the power to the Commission in 2008.
Redrawing the borders of Assam’s assembly and parliamentary constituencies was done last in 1976. Fresh efforts to repeat the process started in 2005.
Earlier this month, the Election Commission held a three-day sitting to discuss the objections to the first draft, which was presented in 2007.
While hearing a plea by nine opposition parties today, the top court issued a notice to the Centre, seeking a response to their appeal. It also sought a reply from the Election Commission on pleas challenging the delimitation exercise for Lok Sabha and assembly seats in Assam.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra agreed to examine the constitutional validity of Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, empowering the Election Commission to undertake the delimitation of constituencies.
Ten leaders representing nine opposition parties in Assam – the Congress, Raijor Dal, Assam Jatiya Parishad, CPI(M), CPI, TMC, NCP, RJD, and Anchalik Gana Morcha — had filed the plea in the top court challenging the ongoing delimitation process.
Two other pleas are also pending before the court.
The petitioners specifically challenged the methodology adopted by the poll panel and its proposals notified on June 20, 2023.