1. MORE SEATS FOR SIKKIM ASSEMBLY
The Home Ministry has proposed an increase in the number of seats in the Sikkim Assembly from 32 to 40. The expansion will be the first since the State merged with India in 1975.
- The seats are being increased to accommodate people from the Limboo and Tamang communities, notified as the Scheduled Tribes .Of the eight seats proposed to be increased; five will be reserved for Limboo and Tamangs. Now, Sikkim has 12 seats reserved for Bhutias and Lepchas, two for the Scheduled Castes, one seat for the Sanghas and 17 general seats. As per constitutional provisions, the total number of seats for STs should be in proportion to the population.
- The seats for Bhutia and Lepchas are reserved not on the basis of them being a Scheduled Tribe, but as a sequel to a political agreement in 1973 between the Government of India, ex-Chogyal (King) of Sikkim and political parties.
- A petition was moved in the Supreme Court that Limboo and Tamangs were not adequately represented in the Assembly and the apex court on January 4, 2016 directed the Home Ministry to take necessary action, a proposal has been sent to the Ministry of Law and Justice to amend the Representation of the People Act (RPA) for the purpose. As per the Delimitation Act, 2002, the number of seats in an Assembly of any State can only be readjusted on the basis of the first census conducted after 2026.
- The Law ministry also said that the final order made by the Delimitation Commission could not have been challenged by any court but the special constitutional provision to Sikkim allows them to make the changes.
2. NEELAKURINJI RESERVE SET TO BE REDRAWN
The Kerala government has decided to redraw the boundaries of the Neelakurinji reserve in Munnar factoring in the presence of habitations, various institutions, and places of worship in the area.
A high-level meeting convened by Chief Minister decided to go in for urgent measures to rework the boundaries of the area to be reserved for Neelakurinji, which has a 12-year flowering cycle.