The Lok Sabha on 25 February 2016 passed Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The bill seeks to amend the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
These Acts regulate allocation of seats to the national and state legislatures, and delimitation (that is, fixing boundaries) of parliamentary and assembly constituencies.
Features of Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Objective: The Bill aims to empower the Election Commission to carry out delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal that were affected by the enactment of the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015.
Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015: Under the 2015 Act, 51 Bangladeshi and 111 Indian enclaves were exchanged between India and Bangladesh on 31 July 2015. Enclaves are territories belonging to one country that are entirely surrounded by another country.
Addition powers to Election Commission: The Bill amends the Acts in order to give additional powers and responsibilities to the Election Commission. It states that the Election Commission may amend the delimitation order to
a) exclude from the relevant constituencies the Indian enclaves that were transferred to Bangladesh; and
b) include in the relevant constituencies the Bangladeshi enclaves that were transferred to India.
RP Act, 1950 and Delimitation Act, 2002: The Section 9 of the 1950 Act and Section 11 of the 2002 Act provide the Election Commission the responsibility to maintain up-to-date delimitation orders.
Responsibility of EC under Delimitation orders: Delimitation orders specify the boundaries of territorial constituencies. This responsibility includes
a) Correcting printing mistakes and inadvertent error
b) Making necessary amendments if the name of any territorial division mentioned in the delimitation order has been altered.
The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Law and Justice, DV Sadananda Gowda, on February 24, 2016.
Earlier, Union Cabinet approved the amendment to the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950 on 17 February 2016.
India, Bangladesh signed Land Boundary Agreement of 1974
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Where: Lok Sabha
When: 25 February 2016