NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday (July 11) prima facie disagreed with the legal stand of the election commission of India (ECI) that it can only begin the delimitation process in Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh after only getting an authorisation from the Centre, The Hindu reported.
“It does not appear the election commission requires authorisation of the government of India,” chief justice of India DY Chandrachud told solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared before the Court on behalf of the Centre.
It may be mentioned here that unlike other states, the ECI, and not the delimitation commission, need to conduct the delimitation exercise in the four Northeast states of Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
While making the observation, CJI Chandrachud cited the section 8A of The Representation of the People Act, 1950 that deals with the delimitation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies in the Northeast states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.
Section 8A(1) says that, subject to being satisfied that the conditions were conducive, the President can rescind the deferment of the delimitation exercise in the four Northeast states and provide for the conduct of delimitation exercise by the election commission.
Section 8A(2) provides that the election commission has to start the delimitation process to determine parliamentary and assembly constituencies in the four Northeast states as soon as the President rescinds the order.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the petitioners in the matter, stated that he was not going to be addressing the states of Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland and would solely be focusing on Arunachal Pradesh.
“At this stage, I am not addressing Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland. But Arunachal, I have something to say. Your lordships have issued notice. Arunachal has chosen not to file a reply. The Election Commission under Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 is the authority which has to respond. It has filed its reply. Now the Election Commission has taken a stand that the delimitation act is not to be done by them but it has to be done after the direction which comes from the Government of India. The section does not provide that. But the problem is that the reply has already come,” Gopal Sankaranarayanan was quoted as saying by Live Law.