Tamil Nadu has faced “unfair” political representation in the Lok Sabha since 1962 after the state successfully pushed down its population, the Madras High Court recently ruled.
In its August 17 order, the court asked the center to see whether representation in Lok Sabha from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – the other state that has seen a drop in representation in parliament – was restored, or to see if the two can be compensated financially. The court fixed the monetary compensation to Tamil Nadu at Rs 5,600 crore.
“Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh lost 2 seats in Lok Sabha after effectively controlling the population. Why states that could not successfully implement population benefits with more representation in Parliament? Why not to compensate these states with states equal to Rajya Sabha,” the bench of judges N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi asked. Judge Kirubakaran retired a few days ago.
Until 1962, Tamil Nadu had 41 Lok Sabha members. The state’s Lok Sabha representation was reduced to 39 before the 1967 general election after successfully controlling its population growth.
“Theoretically, the contribution of an MP in 5 years could be considered as at least Rs 200 crore, although it cannot be determined monetarily. Therefore, for every election, Tamil Nadu should be compensated with a sum of Rs 400 crore for the reduction of two political representatives If so, Tamil Nadu shall get the compensation for the loss of two seats in 14 elections i.e. 28 seats which is equivalent to about 5,600 crores of rupees, the bench said.
The court also ordered the center to see if Article 81 can be amended to maintain the same number of parliamentary constituencies regardless of changes in the populations of the respective states.
The matter was scheduled for further review in four weeks.
This comes amid the construction of the new parliament by the BJP government. The new Lok Sabha would have a seating capacity of 1,000.
The original writ sought to turn the reserved Lok Sabha constituency of Tenkasi into a general seat so that candidates from other communities could also run. The petition asked for a rotation mechanism. However, the court had rejected the plea, citing Tenkasi has a large Scheduled Caste population.