More Seats for Sikkim Legislative Assembly

Delimitation Commission

  • It is a statutory body established for delimiting constituencies on the basis of population.

  • Article 82 of the Constitution has provision that the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census.

  • The commission’s orders have force of law and its decision cannot be challenged in any court.

  • Its reports are laid before Upper House and the state legislative assembly concerned, but changes/modifications are not possible by them.

  • Delimitation in J&K is done under state Constitution.

Special provision for Sikkim (Art 371 F, 36th Amendment Act, 1975)

  • The members of the legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People.

  • Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly to protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.

  • Governor shall have “special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population”.

  • All earlier laws in territories that formed Sikkim shall continue, and any adaptation or modification shall not be questioned in any court.

  1. A petition was moved in the Supreme Court that Limboo and Tamangs (notified as STs in Sikkim) were not adequately represented in the Assembly.

  • As per constitutional provisions, the total number of seats for STs should be in proportion to the population.

  1. The apex court in 2016 directed the Home Ministry to take necessary action for the same.

  2. Thus the amendments in the Second Schedule to the RP Act, 1950 is proposed whereby total seats in Sikkim Legislative Assembly will be 40 in place of existing 32.

  3. The proposed amendment will accommodate people from the Limboo and Tamang communities by reserving five out of eight increased seats for them.

  4. As per Delimitation act, 2002 and consequent 84th and 87th constitutional amendment acts total number of existing seats allocated to various States in the House of the People and legislative assemblies in all states on basis of 1971 census shall remain fixed till the first census after the year 2026.

  5. Special constitutional provisions to Sikkim under article 371(f) have allowed government to make the proposed changes without constituting a fresh delimitation commission as the Article 170 of the Constitution (related to composition of assemblies and some provisions of delimitation for them) does not apply to Sikkim.

The Home Ministry has proposed an increase in the number of seats in the Sikkim Assembly from 32 to 40.

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