Kerala

Row over delimitation may upset poll process

Opposition has decided to move court

The row over delimitation of local body wards is likely to impede and slacken the process and derail the poll schedule.

Local Self-Government Department sources told The Hindu that the tenure of all local bodies had been fixed for five years since the date of the first meeting of the elected councils.

The incumbent committees of panchayats as well as the councils of Corporations and municipalities had their first meeting after the last elections on November 12, 2015, and hence the newly elected councils should come into being on November 12, 2020.

The controversies over delimitation and the Opposition’s decision to move the court are likely to derail the delimitation and election schedule. The State Delimitation Commission will be able to initiate the process only after the government takes a decision on the strength in each local body. The recurring disputes and political wrangling are feared to delay the first step itself. And that will have a cascading effect on the entire procedures.

The commission will have to rush through a slew of procedures that are integral to delimitation, including public hearings in districts to finish the task within a set deadline. Since the time is fast running out, completing the procedures without giving room for fresh disputes will be a challenging task for the commission.

Section 6 of the Panchayati Raj Act as well as the Municipalities Act has delegated ample powers to the government to fix the size and upgrade local bodies and redraw their boundaries with population as the benchmark.

Top priority is usually attached to ensure a balanced development of all regions and an equitable devolution of funds within a local body. The row over the government decision to add one ward each to all local bodies is unfounded since the government was acting within its ambit. Moreover, it has been clarified that the administrative boundaries for the 2021 census will not be redrawn or upset.

As per the census norms, the boundaries of district, taluk and village (panchayat) are the administrative boundaries and altering the limits of a ward will not affect the process. Since the government had clarified that such boundaries would remain unaltered, the arguments against the proposed delimitation process would stand on a shaky premise, sources said.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:52:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/row-over-delimitation-may-upset-poll-process/article30587140.ece

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