The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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June date for public hearing on quota seat

Ranchi, May 2: The Delimitation Commission of India (DCI) will hold public hearings in the state for three days from June 8-10 to invite suggestions/objections from the people.

The commissionís mandate is to redraw boundary lines of parliamentary and assembly constituencies and fix the number of reserved seats in accordance with the population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Jharkhand.

The commission has published fresh proposals in the Gazette of India as well as the Jharkhand state gazette and has sought objections and suggestions from the general public till May 14. The latest proposals, slashing the number of seats reserved for STs to 22 from 28, were worked out after studying objections from the 10 associate members (who happen to be representatives of various parties) of the commission.

The public hearing, however, will be confined to Bokaro and Ranchi. The commission will not, therefore, be holding any public hearing in Santhal Pargana, Palamau and Singhbhum.

Instead, the panel, headed by Justice (Rtd) Kuldip Singh, will hold public sittings on June 8 at Bokaro Kala Kendra for both Dumka and North Chhotanagpur divisions for five hours, says a public notice issued by the DCI. The next day it will hold public hearing for Lohardaga, Simdega, Gumla and Ranchi districts at Milan Palace in the state capital. On the third day, it will hold public hearings for the Palamau and Kolhan divisions, but at Ranchi.

The Delimitation Commission is a high-power body, with its orders having the force of law. They cannot be called in question before any court. The copies of its orders are laid before the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assembly, but no modifications are permissible therein by them.

The proposal, which earlier slashed the number of Assembly seats for the scheduled tribes to 21 from 28, had put political parties on the boil.

Chief Minister Madhu Koda had led an all-party delegation to the Prime Minister and other ministers seeking a freeze on the number of seats reserved for STs.

Koda had also pointed out that any reduction of seats reserved for tribals would lead to widespread political unrest in the state.

Various other parties, too, had declared that they would not allow DCI to hold public sittings if it went ahead with the proposal to cut down the seats reserved for the STs.

According to the revised draft proposals, the number of Assembly constituencies reserved for scheduled tribes, will come down to 22 from 28. The SC reserved constituencies will increase by one to 10 from the existing 9.

Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, two are to be reserved for the SC and four for the ST. Rajmahal constituency is proposed to be dereserved while Ranchi and Jamshedpur are proposed to be reserved for tribals.

The fresh proposal has also hived off Koderma Assembly seat into Koderma and Markachcho. Silli, the constituency represented by Sudesh Mahto, is proposed to be reserved for STs and will come under the Khunti Lok Sabha seat.

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