The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from Centre and Assam government on a plea by the state's AIUDF party, seeking to defer the delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies in the state.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and A.S. Bopanna, after brief hearing, issued notice.
"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 inasmuch as the present delimitation exercise is sought to be conducted on the basis of Census 2001, while Census 2011 has already been conducted and Census 2021 is underway," said the plea filed by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
The petition sought quashing of February 28 order which rescinded the February 8, 2008 notification that had deferred the process of delimitation in Assam. The petitioner has urged the apex court to defer the delimitation exercise until the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
The plea contended that the NRC for Assam is yet to be completed and the delimitation process was earlier deferred in 2008 on the grounds that the 2001 census was outdated. The process of delimitation in Assam, in 2008, had invoked strong opposition in the state, with apprehensions of breakdown of public order.
"Because this exercise has a direct impact on all the citizens of the state of Assam and if an election is held based on a flawed delimitation, it would be very difficult to reverse the damage that it will cause. Because there is no reason for the urgency shown on behalf of the respondents, that although the next census is due, the respondents prefer not to wait for the fresh data but instead insist on relying upon outdated data for delimitation," said the plea.
The petitioners argued that delimitation is a complex procedure which impacts citizens rights to vote for their preferred candidates for a long time and unless the data is up to date, delimitation of constituencies and redrawing them will cause a large number of voters to be left out. "Delimitation proposed to be carried will change the constituencies and will have an impact on the voting rights and preferences of large number of voters and have great impact on candidates," said the plea
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