Readjustment of reserved constituencies will be done with 2001 population figures as base

A minor exercise being carried out by the Election Commission, on the orders of the Supreme Court, to change the status some Lok Sabha/Assembly constituencies from the general category to reserved seats for SCs/STs and vice versa will be completed well in time before the general election, Commissioner S.N.A Zaidi said on Wednesday.

Talking to The Hindu, he said the EC, which had been assigned to carry out the work of the “Delimitation Commission” by the court/government, already started the job in Uttar Pradesh.

Readjustment of reserved constituencies would be based on the notification issued by the Registrar- General of Census, with 2001 population figures as the base.

Informed sources said though this was an all-India exercise, large changes need not be expected — de-reservation of constituencies and vice versa — as it was being carried out only in places where there were significant changes in the SC/ST population or inclusion of new castes under the SC/ST.

However, as already decided by the Delimitation Commission, there would be no changes in the geographical limits/boundaries of the Lok Sabha/Assembly constituencies till 2026, the sources added.

A few months ago, the Law Ministry issued a notification empowering the EC to do the duties of the Delimitation Commission so as determine the change in composition of any constituency where the government had included in or excluded any caste from the SC/ST category between 2001 and 2012.

With this, the EC can carry out a limited corrective exercise immediately rather than waiting for decades for the outcome of the next delimitation exercise to decide whether a particular constituency should be reserved for SC/ST candidates or thrown open for the general category, according to the sources.

Earlier, the EC, in an affidavit before the Supreme Court, in connection with a writ petition, said it did not have the powers to alter the reserved seats and it can only be done through a nationwide delimitation exercise.

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