Assembly elections: EC seeks state govt nod for delimitation in enclaves

OThe Election Commission has urged the government to allow it to carry out a limited delimitation exercise in West Bengal to ensure voting rights to people who came to India following exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.

The term of the 294-member West Bengal Assembly ends on May 29 and elections are likely to be held before that.

Parliament may have to amend certain provisions of the electoral laws to allow the poll body carry out the delimitation exercise in parts of West Bengal where Assembly polls are due this year.

Sources said at a recent meeting between officials of the Law Ministry and the Commission, the poll body made it clear that it was necessary to grant voting rights to these people as the Assembly elections in the state were nearing.

Following delimitation, these people will be made part of some Assembly and parliamentary constituency.

To allow EC to carry out a “limited” delimitation exercise, certain provisions of the Representation of the People Act may have to be amended.

India and Bangladesh had exchanged 162 adversely-held enclaves on July 31 midnight.

There were 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India which were exchanged pursuant to the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol and instruments of ratification, which were exchanged during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh on June 6-7, 2015.

Other than the 14,000 people of the 51 enclaves that became part of India, about 921 who came from Bangladesh have became Indian citizens.

On an earlier occasion, EC was granted special, limited powers of delimitation in 2013 when the then UPA government had brought an ordinance to allow the poll watchdog carry out such an exercise in SC/ST constituencies.

The Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Ordinance 2013 was promulgated to bring a 2012 Supreme Court judgement into effect.


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