- The Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated on January 30, 2013 and again on June 5, 2013. The Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Bill (Second), 2013 was introduced in Parliament on August 7, 2013, to replace the Ordinance.
- Readjustment is the increase or decrease in the number of Parliamentary and state legislative assembly seats reserved for SCs/STs. The number of seats in each state reserved for SCs and STs is proportional to their population share in the state. The constituencies where the SCs/STs have the highest share of the population are reserved for these groups. Constituency boundaries were redrawn and reserved seats identified in the Delimitation Order, 2008 based on the 2001 census. However, since the census of 2001, several castes and tribes were included and excluded from the list of SCs/STs by eleven Acts passed by Parliament. Consequently, the share of the population of SCs/STs in a state has changed. Hence, a readjustment exercise needed to be carried out to reflect this change. The Bill lays down the process by which the readjustment exercise has to be undertaken.
- Role of the Census Commissioner: The Census Commissioner shall estimate the population of SCs/STs in a state according to the 2001 census data taking into account the change in the list of castes and tribes since then. He shall then compute their proportion to the total population of the state, as per that census.
- Role of the Election Commission: The Bill empowers the Election Commission to readjust parliamentary and Legislative Assembly constituencies to reflect these changes in the population. Based on this readjustment, the Commission will make amendments to the Delimitation Order, 2008. The Schedules of the Representation of People Act, 1950 will be deemed to have been amended as well. The Schedules reflect allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies.
- Application of this Bill: The Bill will apply to every election to the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly (on the dissolution of the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly) held after the Bill’s enactment. Steps taken before the commencement of this Bill, by the Census Commissioner or the Election Commission to implement the objectives of this Bill, will be considered to have been taken as though the Bill has been enacted.
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