The Delimitation Act, 2002 was enacted on June 3, 2002 to comply with Article 82 of the Constitution of India. The Act provides for the alteration of the distribution of seats in the Lok Sabha to the States, the total seats in the State Legislative Assembly, the splitting up of the States and all the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory into the election to the territorial constituencies to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies and Union Territories and other matters related with the issue.
The Act provides for the constitution of the Delimitation Commission immediately subsequent to the initiation of the legislation. The Commission shall comprise of three members in the following manner:
- One member to be a Judge of the Supreme Court or retired Supreme Court Judge to act as the Chairperson who shall be appointed by the Union Government;
- An ex officio member who shall be the Chief Election Commissioner or the Election Commission recommended by the Chief Election Commissioner;
- An ex officio member who shall be the State Election Commissioner of the State appointed under Article 243 K (1) of the Constitution by the Governor.
The Commission is entrusted with various responsibilities including the alteration of seats according to the census figures determined at the census taken by the Delimitation Commission established under the Delimitation Act, 1972 for the distribution of seats in the Lok Sabha to different States and all the seats in the State Legislative Assembly. The Commission shall alter the separation of each State into different constituencies for election purpose to the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly of the State according to the census taken in 1991. But where only single seat is apportioned in the Lok Sabha to a State, the entire State shall constitute single constituency for election purpose to the Lok Sabha from that State.
In order to assist the Commission in discharging its duties fro each State, the Commission is empowered to associate five members of the Lok Sabha standing for the State and five members from the State Legislative Assembly. But in case where the members from the Lok Sabha representing the State is less than the required number of persons, then for that State each of such member shall become the associate members of the Commission. The associated members shall be recommended by the Speaker of that House where the members are from the Lok Sabha and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly where the members are nominated from the State Legislative Assembly after considering the composition of the House or Assembly.
The associate members do not possess the right to vote or shall sign in the assessments of the Commission. The Commission is also authorized to call upon the officials like the Registrar General, Census Commission, Surveyor General, Officials of the Central and State Government, any specialist in the geographical information system and person of special expertise to give assistance to the Commission. The ex officio Secretary of the Commission shall be the Secretary of the Election Commission with the duty to discharge certain functions under the guidance of the employees under the Election Commission and also under the direction of the Chairperson of the Commission.
The procedures of the Commission shall be determined by the Commission itself and shall have the authority of a Civil Court under the Civil Procedure Code. Besides, the Commission shall distribute the seats in the Lok Sabha apportioned to each State and each seats dispensed to the State Legislative Assembly as readjusted as per the census of 1971 to single member constituency and demarcate them according to the determined census figures at the census conducted in 1991 considering the provisions of the Constitution and other provisions as provided under the Act.
The Delimitation Act, 2002 repealed the Delimitation Act, 1972. The present legislation is misused by the political parties for delimiting the constituencies according to their wish and aspirations and for political motive. Hence, strict supervisory body has to be established to avoid mishandling of the legislation by the politicians.