After the Lok Sabha, the Women’s Reservation Bill was also passed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. With this, the special session of Parliament has been postponed indefinitely a day before the scheduled time. However, even after the law is made, it will take time to be implemented. There are still some obstacles in the way of women’s reservation. These include aspects related to delimitation and census. Actually, the Women’s Reservation Bill has been linked to both these things. For this reason, even after the law is made, it will take time to implement it. Census and delimitation both are quite complex processes. Their speed is also slow. Census-2021 is to be conducted digitally. It is another matter that verification will take time. Delimitation will happen after the census. This too will take at least two years. In such a situation, the Women’s Reservation Act will be implemented only after 2029. In such a situation, two things become very important in this entire exercise. First, when will the census start? Second, when will the new delimitation come into effect? The path to implementation of the Women’s Reservation Act lies in these two questions.
Let’s come to our first question. That means when will the census take place? Actually the census was to be held in 2021. But, due to Corona it was postponed indefinitely. Then in June 2023, the Registrar General of Census of India extended the date for setting administrative boundaries for the census to January 1, 2024. These boundaries are related to districts, tehsils, towns and villages. The census begins three months after these boundaries are decided. By that time general elections would have been announced. It is another matter that the date for starting the census has not come.
What is the mathematics of limitation?
Now coming to the second question. When will the delimitation come into effect? The last Delimitation Commission for the Lok Sabha was formed in 2002 under the chairmanship of retired judge Kuldeep Singh after the 2001 census. Due to the 84th Constitutional Amendment, its recommendations remained the same. It had banned the delimitation exercise or reassignment of parliamentary seats till 2026. Currently there are 543 Lok Sabha seats.
What does Article 82 of the Constitution say?
Now let us also understand who does the delimitation and why it is needed. The work of delimitation is done by the Delimitation Commission. This is done under the chairmanship of a retired judge. Under this process, boundaries of constituencies of Lok Sabha, Assembly and local legislative bodies are decided. There is a representative for a fixed population in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly. In such a situation, the situation changes due to change in population. In such a situation, delimitation is done only after the census. Article 82 of the Constitution has a provision for re-determination of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats after every census.