The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Two answers to Delimit deadlock

Ranchi, July 22: Delimitation Commission chairman Kuldeep Singh has written to the Prime Minister with “two viable alternatives” to solve the “Jharkhand imbroglio”.

He suggested change in the Bihar Reorganisation Act and the delimitation process be deferred by six months. He also favours a thorough examination of constitutional and statutory provisions by the experts of the ministry of law.

Highly placed sources in Delhi said Singh had a detailed discussion with the Prime Minister on June 12.

In Jharkhand the only demand was that the existing number of Scheduled Tribe seats in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha should not be reduced at any cost.

The Jharkhand issue was directly related to Article 332 of the Constitution.

“It is reiterated that the issues being complicated and involving constitutional and statutory provisions, it requires thorough examination by the legal experts of the ministry of law,” said Singh in his letter to principal secretary to the Prime Minister, T.K.A. Nair, dated June 14, 2007.

Through this letter, the delimitation commission chief also suggested “two viable alternatives” to Singh.

The first stresses on insertion of a new section “10A” in the Delimitation Act 2002 in the following terms: 10A — notwithstanding anything contained in Sections 4,8,9, and 10, the President of India may by Notification, for reasons to be recorded, defer the ongoing delimitation process in the states of Assam and Jharkhand for a period of not more than six months.

Singh argues that 10A, if incorporated, would enable the Union government to defer the delimitation process for some time, during which the problems could be resolved by amending the Constitution or any other statutory provision.

The second alternative suggests that in view of the provisions of Article 4 of the Constitution, it may be possible to meet the demand of the people of Jharkhand by making the following amendments in Sections 9 and 12 of the Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000: “9(C) — provided the number of Scheduled Tribe seats in the House of People from the state of Jharkhand shall not be reduced, and 12 (2) (c) — provided the number of Scheduled Tribe seats in the Legislative Assembly from the state of Jharkhand shall not be reduced.

The delimitation commission chief also added that the law ministry may examine whether these amendments be incorporated in Sections 9 and 12 as suggested or in any other section/sections of the Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000.

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