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18th December 2023 (9 Topics)

One person, one vote, one value

Context:

Next Delimitation Commission must ensure fair representation for minorities, tackling both quantity and quality of vote dilution effectively.

Constitutional Safeguards

  • Quantitative and Qualitative dilution: Articles 81, 170, and 327 ensure fair delimitation, preventing both quantitative and qualitative dilution of vote value.
  • Maintain Electoral process: Independent commissions, led by retired judges, maintain the quality of the electoral process.
  • Data suggestions: National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution and the Sachar Committee Report: in a majority of the seats reserved for SCs by the Delimitation Commission (1972-76), the population of Muslims was more than 50% and also higher than the SC population.

Historical Delimitation Orders

  • Background: Four delimitation commissions shaped electoral boundaries in 1952, 1962, 1972, and 2002, impacting representation and population ratios.
  • Legislative amendments freeze population figures, affecting delimitation decisions.
  • Minority Status: At present, the share of Muslims MPs in Parliament is only around 4.42%, whereas the Muslim population is 14.2%.

Vote Value Disparities:

  • Dilution of vote value: The population of Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Gujarat has increased by more than 125% between 1971 and 2011, whereas the population of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Odisha has increased by less than 100% due to stricter population control measures.
  • Population growth disparities across states create significant vote value variations, leading to both quantitative and qualitative dilution.
  • Issues:Minorities face qualitative dilution through practices like cracking, stacking, and packing, impacting their parliamentary representation.
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