Tamil Nadu has faced “unfair” political representation in the Lok Sabha since 1962 after the state managed to successfully bring down its population, the Madras high court said recently.
In its order passed on August 17, the court asked the centre to see if the Lok Sabha representation of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – the other state that has seen a drop in representation in the parliament – be restored, or to see if the two can be compensated monetarily. The court pegged the monetary compensation to Tamil Nadu at Rs 5,600 crore.
“Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh lost 2 Lok Sabha seats after they effectively controlled population. Why states which could not successfully implement population benefits with more representation in Parliament? Why not compensate these states with equal Rajya Sabha states,” the bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi asked. Justice Kirubakaran retired a few days ago.
Till 1962, Tamil Nadu had 41 Lok Sabha members. The state’s Lok Sabha representation was reduced to 39 ahead of the 1967 general polls after it successfully controlled its population growth.
“Notionally, the contribution of a Member of Parliament in 5 years could be taken at least as Rs.200 crores, though it cannot be determined monetarily. Therefore for every election, Tamil Nadu should be compensated with a sum of. Rs.400 crores for reduction of two political representatives. If that is so, Tamil Nadu has to get the compensation for the loss of two seats in 14 elections, viz.,28 seats, which amounts to approximately Rs.5,600 crores, the bench said.
The court also directed the centre to see if Article 81 can be amended to maintain the same number of parliamentary constituencies irrespective of change in the population of the respective states.
The matter has been listed for further consideration in four weeks.
This comes amid the construction of the new parliament by the BJP government. The new Lok Sabha would reportedly 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 too can contest. The petition sought a rotational mechanism. However, the court had turned down the plea, citing Tenkasi has a large population of scheduled castes.