Explained: How states are split into seats

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  1. The Parliament has passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill,2019.The bill bifurcates the State into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir(with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
  2. According to the act,the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the UT of J&K would be increased from 107 to 114.The Act also specifies that delimitation will be based on the 2011 census till 2026.
  3. Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats to represent changes in population so that the population of all seats so far as practicable is the same.
  4. The main objective of delimitation is to provide equal representation to equal segments of a population and fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  5. Under Article 82,the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.Delimitation is carried out by an independent Delimitation Commission.
  6. Once the Delimitation Act is in force,the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission made up of (a)retired Supreme Court judge, (b)Chief Election Commissioner and (c)respective State Election Commissioners.
  7. The Constitution mandates that its orders are final and cannot be questioned before any court as it would hold up an election indefinitely.
  8. Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002.There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.
  9. The delimitation did not take place as the Constitution mandates that the number of Lok Sabha seats allotted to a state would be such that the ratio between that number and the population of the state is as far as practicable,the same for all states. 
  10. The southern states that promoted family planning faced the possibility of having their seats reduced.To allay these fears,the Constitution was amended during 1976 to suspend delimitation until 2001.Further,another amendment postponed this until 2026.