In the Matter at hand Hirendranath Gohain vs Union of India and ors Ajit Bhuyan, a Rajya Sabha member of parliament, and Hiren Gohain, an Assamese public intellectual and Marxist, have filed petitions against the Election Commission of India’s decision to begin delimitation in Assam. The process of establishing the boundaries of territorial constituencies in a nation or any State with a legislative body is known as delimitation. The Election Commission of India has issued the draught delimitation report. In addition, Section 8A of the Representation of People Act, 1950, which the ECI claimed to be used to exercise its authority in carrying out the delimitation process, was challenged in this case.
The petitioners claimed that the delimitation process in Assam is being carried out with little respect for the law and that a retired Supreme Court judge should have been in charge of the delimitation committee. The Delay was previously given for reasons that are no longer valid, thus the procedure used to determine deferral must be representative. The procedure must now be finished, according to the notification. This procedure is not representational, it goes against the fundamental tenet of the Constitution, and it undermines democracy. It is not even an activity led by one or two people.
Analysis of Court Decision
The Supreme Court’s bench, which is comprised of the Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, declined to suspend the delimitation process now taking place in the State of Assam, stating that it would not be proper to do so at this time.
The Bench ruled in his judgement that it would not be appropriate to halt the procedure at this point as delimitation has already started, taking into account the release of the draught proposal in June 2023. Therefore, we are not imposing any injunction preventing the Election Commission from taking any further action while reserving the constitutional challenge. It did, however, agree to look into the legality of Section 8A of the Representation of People Act and gave the Union and Assam governments notice on petitions that questioned the provision. The Court ruled that the same deserves examination.
The court then asked for the Union and Assam governments’ responses to the petitions, noting that the case will be listed after the conclusion of the Constitution Bench hearing in the Delhi Services Ordinance dispute. The court is also handling two further public interest litigation petitions that contest the northeastern States’ exclusion from the delimitation process. These were submitted before the ECI began the procedure in Assam.