Post Mortem

On purported exercise of delimitation/re-adjustment of seats

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/14/2020 1:26:02 PM IST

 The Dimapur Ao Youth Organisation (DAYO) would like to clarify once and for all its stand on the purported delimitation exercise in the state of Nagaland. Of late, several malicious allegations with sinister designs by pseudo intellectuals taking the name of their community has been doing the rounds. The DAYO welcomes constructive criticism from any quarter for the common good and welfare of the Naga society at large. Some historical facts and data are provided below against those assumptions and hypothesis of Ao leaders being at the helm of affairs might have influenced the census figures and delimitation exercise carried out in 1973 based on the census of 1971.

Chief Ministers: P.Shilu Ao( 1/12/1963-14/8/1966); T.N.Angami (14/8/1966-22/2/1969); Hokishe Sema (22/2/1969-26/2/74); Vizol Angami (26/2/74-10/3.1975); John Bosco Jasokie (10/3/1975-20/3/1975);President’s Rule; Vizol Angami (25/11/1977-18/4/1980) and The Director of Census Operations, Nagaland, 1971 Daniel Kent of the Indian Frontier Administrative Service.

Secondly, Nagaland population Census 1971 was 5,16,449 and the rational conclusion to determine the criteria for allocation of 60 assembly seats to each tribal population within a district required a minimum of (5,16,449/60) 8607 population.

Thirdly, as per the distribution of Assembly Seats for the First General Election  in 1964 for 40 seats based on the 1961 Census, Mokokchung was allocated 10 seats and similarly, during the delimitation exercise carried out based on 1971 Census, the number of seats remained the same, proportionate to its existing population and the norms observed for its distribution.

1961 Avg. Seats 1971      Avg. Seats

1. MOKOKCUNG 58,352  9.92 (10) 82,562    9.59(10)

2. ZUNHEBOTO 44,624  7.59 (7) 56,202    6.52(7)

(inclusive of Pughoboto Sub-Division)

3. WOKHA 29,554    5.02 (5) 38,587    4.48(4)

4. KOHIMA 41,501    7.06 (7) 63,077    7.32(7)

5. PHEK 33,656    5.72 (6) 44,594    5.18 (5)

6. PEREN 11,666    1.98 (2) 16,674    1.93 (2)

7. DIMAPUR 15,767    2.68 (3) 42,002 4.87 (5)

                Total : 2,35,120 (5878/40)

8. TUENSANG 44,172   (6 members 58,078    6.74 (7)

9. MON 59,883   represented 76,853    8.92 (9)

10. LONGLENG 14,390   Tuensang 19,423    2.25 (2)

11. KIPHIRE 15,635   Area) 18,398    2.13 (2) 

                  Total : 3,69,200   Total : 5,16,449    (8607/60)

Each district was proportionately represented based on the population size at that point of time and was considered fair and just as there was no recorded complaints therein. The number of representatives allocated to each tribal population within each districts validated the census figures..

The re-adjustment of territorial constituencies in allocation of seats to the States in  the House of the People and similar provisions in respect of the territorial constituencies for seats to the Legislative Assemblies of the States are provided under Article 82 and Article 170 (2) and (3) respectively of the Constitution of India, 1950. By the Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act, 1976 incorporated the 2nd and 3rd Provisos to Article 82, and also, similarly incorporated, among others, the 2nd and 3rd Provisos to Article 170 (3).

The 3rd Provisos to both the Articles prohibits re-adjustment to the total number of seats and the division of territorial constituencies until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2000 has been published. The Constitution (44th Amendment) Bill, 1976, (Bill No. 91 of 1976) was passed as the Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment) Act,1976 and the relevant notes of clauses thereto may be quoted below :

“In the context of the intensification of the family programmes of the Government, it is considered that not only the allocation of seats in the House of the People to the States and the total number of seats in legislative assemblies of the States but also the extend of parliamentary and assembly constituencies and the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as determined on the basis of the 1971 census, should be frozen till the year 2001. It is accordingly proposed to amend the relevant Articles, namely Articles 81 and 82 relating to the Lok Sabha, Article 170 relating to the legislative assemblies of States, Article 55 relating to the manner of election of the President and Articles 330 and 332 relating to reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies of States.”

The object and intent of constitutional amendment and legislation has thus given precedence to the population policy and the family planning programmes of the Government rather than to take cognizance of population growth in the country. Therefore, the population ascertained in every census, if taken to be basis for delimitation and re-adjustment of constituencies, situation would arise where MP/MLA seats from rural areas would continually be transferred to the urban areas, and also encouraged population growth.

That in Article 82 and Article 170 of the Constitution, the figure “2000” and the figure “1971”: have been substituted by the figure “2026” and the figure “1991” respectively by the Constitution (Eighty-Fourth Amendment) Act, 2001. By the same Amendment Act, sub-clause (i) and (ii) of 3rd Proviso to Article 82, and sub-clause (i) and (ii) of 3rd Proviso to Article 170 (3) have been incorporated, banning – (i) re-adjustment of the allocation of seats in the House of the People to the States as readjusted on the basis of 1971 census; and ()ii) the division of each state into territorial constituencies as may be readjusted on the basis of the 1991 census. Also by Constitution (Eighty-Seventh Amendment) Act, 2003, under both Article 82 and Article 170, the figure 1991 has been substituted by the figure 2001.

That by formation of new States or Union Territories or change of inter-state boundaries or inter-district boundaries affecting the territorial boundaries of any parliamentary/assembly constituencies, delimitation and re-adjustment of the constituencies may be required. Therefore, the delimitation law being perpetual, it has been updated by the Delimitation Act, 2002, and repealed the Delimitation Act, 1972. 

Hence, where such exercise of delimitation and re-adjustment of constituencies are required, the census figures as ascertained in the year 1971 or 1991 or 2001 as the case may be becomes relevant to be taken into consideration under the law. 

Re-adjustment of number of seats in the House of the People or the Legislative Assemblies and delimitation of constituencies provided under Section 8 and 9 of the Delimitation Act, 2002, and/or any other provisions therein  cannot be construed to meant to override the mandate of the Constitution under Article 82 or Article 170 as the case  may be which prohibits to re-adjust the total number of seats in the House of the People to the States or the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of each state as re-adjusted on the basis of 1971 census and the division  of such State into territorial constituencies as may be re-adjusted  on the basis of the 2001 census. 

The proposed transfer of assembly seats from one district to another district under the guise of the territorial re-adjustment of assembly constituencies are unknown to law, and in the absence of enhanced number of assembly seats above the existing 60 seats, the question of delimitation of assembly constituencies as envisaged under the Delimitation Act, 2002, does not arise. Furthermore, the equation of some districts having multi-lingual representation with their own distinct dialects/languages and traditional tribal lands with district boundaries if not addressed comprehensively will result in breakdown of law and order. The Presidential Notification dated 28th Feb, 2020 while rescinding its earlier Order of deferment of delimitation exercise (Presidential Notification dated, 08.02.2008) observes and states that the earlier law and order situation no longer persists. This is a point of contention in the present juncture and the citizens of Nagaland are the best judge for the same.

In the absence of changes in inter-state boundaries or the inter-district boundaries, as the case may be, affecting the existing territorial boundaries of any Constituencies, the question of invoking the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002, or any other law for transfer of assembly seats from one district to another within the same State solely on account of population growth does not arise, and the same would be highly illegal and unconstitutional.

Media Cell, DAYO

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