Parl panel approves bill to empower EC on seat nomenclature



New Delhi: A Parliamentary committee has approved a bill which seeks to give limited powers to the Election Commission to determine change in nomenclature of a parliamentary or assembly seat where a caste has been included or excluded from the SC/ST list in the last one decade.

The Readjustment of Representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Bill, 2013 was referred to the Standing Committee on Law after members from various parties, including BJP, BSP, SP and CPI-M, objected to rushing through the crucial legislation when it was introduced in Rajya Sabha during the first half of the Budget Session.

The members had insisted that the Bill should be referred to the Standing Committee because it concerns all political parties as it related to delimitation of constituencies.

The Bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued in January this year which has since lapsed.

The report said some of Committee members were of the opinion that the exercise for the Commission would turn out to be a major one.

"However, in the Committee's view...This exercise would only result in increase or decrease of a few reserved seats...It will neither change the number of constituencies nor will it be a delimitation exercise," the report said.

A member of the Committee, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy (Trinamool Congress) gave a dissent note, saying views of constitutional experts and concerned states and Union Territories should be taken and the panel should not have rushed to conclusions.

The Bill will empower EC to make changes in Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe constituencies where some castes have been either excluded or included between the 2001 census and May 2012.

PTI