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IAS Current Affairs: Cabinet approves Amendment to the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950

IAS Current Affairs: February 19, 2016 
 
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TOPIC: Amendment to the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
 
Objective behind this Amendment:
  • This amendment enables Election Commission to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the Cooch Behar District of West Bengal after the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves respectively between India and Bangladesh was completed in July, 2015.

  • This is in pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015 and also allows for introduction of a Bill, namely, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.
 
Background:
  • India and Bangladesh signed a historic pact that gave its approval for the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (Chhitmahals) in Indian Territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory from 31st July, 2015.

  • This exchange altered the geography and demography of the district of Cooch Behar in West Bengal.

  • There are 14,000 people of the 51 enclaves that became part of India. Other than that, about 921 who came from Bangladesh have also become Indian citizens. 

  • With a view to carry out consequential geographic and demographic alterations vis-à-vis the electoral mosaic of the affected areas, the Election Commission requested to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 to enable it to carry out limited delimitation of constituencies in the affected areas.

  • The term of the 294-member West Bengal Assembly ends on May 29 and elections are likely to be held before that.

  • The Election Commission made it clear that it was necessary to grant voting rights to these people as the assembly polls in the state were nearing. Following delimitation, these people will be made voters of assembly and parliamentary constituencies.

  • Accordingly, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been proposed for enactment. 
Sources: pib, Economic Times
 

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