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Times of India 26 Sept 2013, New Delhi P19
Govt may put off tough decisions:


Sachar Committee Report:


Another issue emphasized before the Committee was that a number of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies with substantial Muslim voter population are reserved for SCs while the SC population was not high there. Contrarily, constituencies with comparatively lesser Muslim voter population remain unreserved even though they have sizeable SC population. It was suggested to the Committee that it would be more equitable to reserve those constituencies where voter population of SCs is high rather than those where it is low and, instead, Muslim presence is high. (See Chapter-2)

This matter is in the purview of Delimitation Commission. The Committee hopes that it would receive the attention of the Government immediately because the Delimitation Commission is at present engaged in this exercise and evidently any suggestion or any exercise to be done by it has to be undertaken during the current term of the present Delimitation Commission.

Page 241

Establishing a More Rational Procedure for Delimitation of Constituencies

The Committee also recommends the elimination of the anomalies with respect to reserved constituencies under the delimitation schemes discussed in Chapter 2. A more rational delimitation procedure that does not reserve constituencies with high minority population shares for SCs will improve the opportunity for the minorities, especially the Muslims, to contest and get elected to the Indian Parliament and the State Assemblies. Apart from these two initiatives it is important to evolve other methods to enhance political participation of the Community. 

Page 24-25

4.5 Political Participation, Governance and Equity

Margin Note: A number of Muslim concentration assembly constituencies have been declared as ‘reserved’ by the Delimitation Commission

As has been indicated earlier in the chapter, many persons the Committee interacted with, felt that lack of adequate “Muslim voice” in the government, even in local self government bodies and similar other grassroots institutions has resulted in a situation that Muslims have lagged behind. In their view, political participation and representation in governance structures are essential to achieve equity. It was alleged by many that participation is denied to Muslims through a variety of mechanisms. Two specific instances were cited in this context:

  •  Non- Inclusion of Muslims in the Voter Lists: It was pointed out that many names of Muslims were missing in the voter lists of a number of states. Not only does this dis-empower them, it also makes them ineligible as beneficiaries of government schemes.

  •  Notification of Reserved Constituencies: Attention of the Committee was drawn to the issue of Muslim concentration assembly constituencies being declared as ‘reserved’ constituencies where only SC candidates can contest elections. By this move, it was argued that Muslims are being systematically denied political participation.

    While the Committee could not look into the issue of voter lists, an effort was made to ascertain the facts on the issue of reserved constituencies. Our analysis relating to the reserved constituencies for the SC candidates in three states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal(see Appendix 2.1) suggests that there is truth in the allegation above7

    [7. Data relating to the reserved constituencies for the SC candidates in three states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal was analysed by the Committee (Appendix Table 2.2). These states have a relatively large share of the Muslim population in India. The data shows that constituencies which have been declared reserved for SCs by the Delimitation Commission in these three states are by and large those constituencies where Muslims live in greater numbers often more than 50 per cent as well as their proportion in the population is higher than that of SCs. On the other hand, there are quite a large number of other constituencies within the respective states, where the share of SCs is large, often closer to or even more than one half but these are declared as 'un-reserved'. Arguably, this can be seen as discriminatory and certainly reduces the opportunities that Muslims have to get elected to democratic institutions.]

Also, please read: UPA's Last Window of Opportunity - Item 4(b)