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Delimitation: Supreme Court seeks response from ECI and Central Government on PIL challenging exclusion of NE states

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The Supreme on Monday has asked for the Central government and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to respond in a public interest litigation (PIL) petition which challenges exclusion of north-eastern States from delimitation exercise.

A Bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli have issued notice on the PIL filed by Congress leader Padi Richo and tagged it with a similar petition pending before the Court.

The petition that has been filed challenges two notifications issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

The first notification that it challenges was issued on March 6, 2020. It constituted a Delimitation Commission for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and for the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.

Although, the delimitation for J&K was was to be done on the basis of population of 2011, the delimitation for North Eastern states was totally to be done on the of 2001 population.

The plea states this to be an unreasonable classification and disparity.

The plea then mentions how the year later, Law Ministry issued another amended notification on March 3, 2021.

As per the new notification, the term of the Delimitation Commission were extended by a year.

However, its scope was limited only to Jammu and Kashmir and the four North-Eastern States were excluded.

The petitioner has, therefore, sought quashing of both the notifications.

The advocate who represented petitioners included Sriram Parakkat, MS Vishnu Shankar and Divya Jyoti Singh.

In March 2020, a Delimitation Commission was formed comprising three-member and chaired by retired Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai for Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir. The commission published its final report on May 5 this year.

In the month of July, the Apex Court issued notice to the Central government, the Election Commission of India and the States of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradhesh on another public interest litigation petition against the exclusion of the four north-eastern States from delimitation.

A notice was issued by bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy on the plea that contended that the process of delimitation for States is a constitutional obligation that has not been met in the four States for the last 51 years.

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