Delimitation process can create tension between hills and valley: PIL in SC

Delimitation process can create tension between hills and valley: PIL in SC

TMB Report

IMPHAL: A social activist of Kshetrigao Sheikh Nooral Hassan has on Tuesday submitted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to the Supreme Court against the present delimitation process to be done on the basis of 2001 census data under the provision of Delimitation Act, 2002, reminding that it was deferred till 2026 in the gazette notification issued by Government of India in 2008. The PIL was successfully admitted to the Supreme Court as provisional application no. 2107-2020.

Addressing media persons at its residence Kshetrigao Awang Leikai, Sheikh Noorul Hassan said that the reason of submission of PIL against the delimitation process is that if the delimitation is done on basis of 2001 census data it can create chaos/tension between the ethnic groups/multiple ethnic living with peace co-existence in Manipur and it is a challenge to the Constitution.

He recounted that the Guwahati High Court rendered its judgment on January 19, 2007 invalidating the census of 2001 as bogus, and directing recounting of the population heads. At the same time, if the delimitation done basis on 2001 census, some of the Assembly constituencies are likely to be transferred from the thickly populated valley districts to the sparsely populated hills districts, added the social activist.

If the demarcation is done based on 2001 census report, it will be against Articles 81, 82, 170 and 330 of the Constitution of India. The Supreme Court has clearly given its judgment that the basic structures of the Constitution are equal representation of the basic structures of the constitution which could not be challenged and reconstructed repeatedly. It will be in violation of fundamental rights of the petitioner of equal participation in the electoral process under Articles 14, freedom of political expression under Articles 19 (1) (a) and right to liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, he stated.

He also pointed out that census figure as per 1991-2001 the percentage of growth for the nine sub-division of the three districts of Senapati, Chandel and Ukhrul namely Paomata, Mao Marani, Purul, Saitu Gamphazol; Chapikarong, Moreh Machi, Chandel HQ and Kasom Khullen climbed from 41 to 169 percentage. It is an impossible statistics because the average population growth rate at the national and state is 21.34 and 30.02, he added.

He also further stated that if delimitation is to be done based on 2001 census data, then authentication of the census data by Aadhaar verification should be done first or to conduct the delimitation on the basis of 2021 census data.

The social activist put up five question to the Respondent-1 Union of India and Respondent-2 Government of Manipur whether it is lawful, just, fair, reasonable and proper to conduct the exercise of delimitation under the Delimitation Act, 2020 for identification and demarcation of territorial constituencies for Parliamentary and State Legislative Assembly elections based on population data generated at 2001 census, which is admittedly bogus and fraudulent; whether the use of bogus 2001 census for delimitation of territorial constituencies for Parliamentary and State Legislative Assembly will result in violation of fundamental rights of the petitioner of equal participation in the electoral process under Article 14, freedom of political expression under Article 19 (1) (a) and right to liberty under Article 21 of the constitution of India; whether the bogus 2001 census data delimitation of territorial constituencies for Parliamentary and State Legislative Assembly elections will result in contravention of the basic structures of the constitution; what is the true purpose, meaning and effect of Article 81, 170 and 330 of the Constitution of India and do Article 81, 170 and 330 of the Constitution of India include delimitation as aforesaid based on bogus census figures, or they prohibit such exercise.

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