NEW DELHI – A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court by leaders of various opposition parties of Assam challenging the draft delimitation proposal in the state published by the Election Commission.
In its draft order issued on June 20, the Election Commission proposed readjusting the extent of 126 Assembly and 14 Lok Sabha Constituencies in Assam.
The delimitation proposal has sparked protests from nearly all of the opposition parties in the state.
The petition, filed through advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi questions, the methodology adopted by the EC by taking different “average assembly size” for different districts, contending that population density has no role to play in the process of delimitation.
The petition also challenged Section 8A of the Representation of People Act, 1950 on the grounds that the same is arbitrary, opaque and discriminatory to the state of Assam.
Purportedly, the EC issued the delimitation proposal in exercise of its power under Section 8A, which prescribes the Election Commission as the authority to conduct delimitation in Assam and three northeastern states.
“Delimitation for the rest of the country has been carried out by a high-powered body headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge and such a commission was formed for Jammu & Kashmir as well. However, the provision of Section 8A discriminates against Assam and three northeastern States, for which the Election Commission has been prescribed as the authority to conduct delimitation,” the plea stated.
The petition also pointed out certain statements given by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has publicly stated that the present exercise will be beneficial to BJP while being damaging to other opposition parties.
“Such statements, while do not inspire any confidence in the exercise, also give rise to apprehensions that the ECI exercise has not been independent and has been heavily dictated by the State Government,” the plea submitted.
The petitioners include Lurinjyoti Gogoi of the Assam Jatiya Parishad, Debabrata Saikia and Rokibul Hussain of the Congress), Akhil Gogoi of the Raijor Dal, Manoranjan Talukdar of the CPI-M, Ghanakanta Chutia of the Trinamool Congress, Munin Mahanta of the CPI, Diganta Konwar of the Anchalik Gana Morcha, Mahendra Bhuyan of the Nationalist Congress Party, and Swarna Hazarika of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Earlier, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had moved the Supreme Court against the draft proposal on the delineation of the state’s Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies. Reportedly, the draft delimitation proposal had sparked intense hostility in Karimganj, Goalpara, Hailakandi and Barpeta districts, which are heavily populated by minorities. -IANS