HYDERABAD: TRS MP B Vinod Kumar urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate the process of delimitation of Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by amending Section 26(1) of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
In a letter to Modi on Friday, Vinod Kumar said that combined Andhra Pradesh had a vast population of around nine crore and the successor states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have population of approximately 4 and 5 crore respectively.
Section 26 (1) of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 guarantees that this huge population be given enhanced representation through an increase in the number of Assembly seats, from 119 to 153 in Telangana from 175 to 225 in Andhra Pradesh. However this promise has been belied.
The ministry of home affairs held that Assembly seats cannot be increased as Section 26 is ‘subject to’ the provisions of Article 170 of the Constitution, which puts a freeze on delimitation of Assembly constituencies till the first census after 2026. This has become a real deterrent to the legitimate rights of the people of AP and TS, who are entitled to an increase in representation in their Assemblies, Vinod said in the letter.
“What makes the fulfilment of this promise more imperative is that the Act has been created under the provisions of Article 3 of the Constitution, an Article so powerful that it can amend any part of the Constitution itself,” the TRS MP informed the Prime Minister.
The very purpose of including Section 26 (1) in the Act was to increase the Assembly seats in both states. If the provisions of Article 170 were to be indeed followed, then there was no need for inserting Section 26 (1) in the Act as States were going to receive an increased number of Assembly seats after 2026 in any case. Therefore it is highly likely that it is a drafting error where Section 26 (1) begins with the words ‘Subject to’ instead of ‘Notwithstanding’. The error probably went unnoticed in the chaotic conditions under which the Bill was passed, Vinod Kumar observed.
He demanded the PM to facilitate the amendment of Section 26 (1) of the AP Reorganisation Act such that it begins with ‘Notwithstanding’ instead of ‘Subject to’, thereby overcoming the restrictions placed by Article 170 and enabling the Election Commission of India to initiate the process of delimitation of Assembly constituencies in AP and TS.