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from daijiworld's special correspondent

Panaji, Aug 19: Goa's Rajya Sabha member of parliament Shantaram Naik has demanded on the floor of the house that Delimitation Act should be amended to give representation for political parties on the Delimitation Commission.

Naik, who was participating in a debate on a Private Member's resolution moved by another MP Narayanswami on the subject of delimitation, said that Associate Members, whether they are MPs or MLAs, look after the interest of their own constuencies, when they act as Associate Members, and once that is achieved, they keep their mouths shut lest it may hurt the Chairman of the Commission and jeopardize their interest

Naik also brought to the notice of the House that there was no remedy provided in the Delimitation Act,2002 against the decision of the Speaker if the Speaker, while nominating Associate Members does not give "due regard to the composition of the House" as required by law.

Naik cited the Goa example when during the recent delimitation of various constituencies Speaker of the Goa Assembly, in the then BJP-ruled State, nominated disproportionately, 4 members of BJP and 1 member of Congress as Associate Members when, in fact, BJP and Congress strength in the House was as close as 17 and 16, respectively.

Naik also said that three communities in Goa were declared as Scheduled Tribes after the 2001 Census and, Delimitation Commission should have either ordered the Registrar General of Census to carry out a special census of these communities to give them representation or asked the union government to order the Registrar General of Census to do so. These communities have been deprived by their rightful reservation, Naik said.

Naik said that the delimitation which was carried out immediately after Goa was granted statehood, revenue villages were the basis of delimitation but, this time, the Commission, without any consultation, resorted to sazas and circles the two revenue units unknown to the State.

Naik said that the public hearings that the Delimitation Commissions take are taken very lightly. There are enlightened people like engineers, architects and social workers capable of throwing better light on the subject, and therefore, they should be heard personally by the Commission.

Naik also suggested that initial draft prepared by the Commission is prepared with the help of bureaucrats of the State who get influenced by the respective ruling party of the State. He suggested that This draft be prepared in consultation with the Associate Members.

When union law minister H R Bharadwaj was replying to the debate, Naik sought to know whether delimitation newly done would apply to Goa where election are due.

Bhardwaj said, "I have already suggested that all delimitation work would be notified in one go throughout the country, including the Assemblies. Therefore, I am keeping that notification in abeyance. I have already made it clear. Whether it is Goa or any other State, we shall go through the exercise. There are two points that are being considered seriously. One is, the demand from the weaker sections, and the other is, the urban-rural population. There are some suggestions, which are under consideration, and are at an advanced stage, and the Government is likely to take a decision in consultation with the political parties. Only then you will know whether we are accepting the delimitation, as is being
accomplished now, or we resort to other guidelines. We may have to change the guidelines; Section 9 itself lays down the population criterion, which, according to me, is not a very sound criterion because this cannot be done in smaller States."


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