SC serves notice to Centre over delimitation exercise
IMPHAL, 18th Jul: The Supreme Court of India has served notice to the Union of India and other respondents over the delimitation exercise to be taken up in Manipur after a writ petition (civil) was filed in the apex court.
The petition filed by one Sheikh Noorul Hassan was directed against an order dated February 28 issued by the Government of India for resumption of the delimitation process based on data published by Census 2001.
The matter was taken up on Thursday in the bench of Chief Justice of India along with two justices. The apex court issued notice to both the respondents and also directed to file replies within four weeks.
The petitioner maintained that the 2001 census data was forged, manipulated and bogus. In 2001, there were 9 districts in Manipur, out of which four districts falling in the valley area comprised nearly 60 per cent (78.9 per cent) of the state’s population and the remaining five districts falling in the hill areas accounted for 40 per cent of the population.
However, in the 2001 census, Naga insurgents having territorial ground control over the hill districts used coercive and pressure tactics on the field Census workers and caused massive manipulation in the Census data of three hill districts out of five.
Without rectifying the bogus data, and taking advantage of the relative quiet and peaceful atmosphere in Manipur, the Union of India has caused resumption of the delimitation process based on the 2001 Census bogus data. The exercise is likely to result in transfer of a few assembly constituencies (up to four) from the densely populated valley districts to the sparsely populated Naga extremist infested hill districts, the petition mentioned, adding “Likewise, there would be redistribution of nearly five assembly segments from the outer Lok Sabha seat to the inner.”
The petitioner maintained that the Union of India has sacrificed constitutional norms at the altar of political expediency. The outcome would be a skewed representation in the state assembly as well as in the Lok Sabha when the population data is manipulated or inflated. This will change the delicate power equation in the state and the nominees of the extremist organisations are likely to come into power as they are widely believed to manipulate votes in the hill districts over which they exercise territorial and administrative control while the Union of India has no ground control.