PM inaugurated a brand new Parliament Annexe
The time has come to grapple with the implications of the freeze on parliamentary seats and seat allocations to States being lifted in 2026
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a brand new Parliament Annexe building that will afford our lawmakers more space and enable better functioning.
We might actually need a new building for Parliament altogether due to the likely increase in number of seats in both Houses after the lifting of the freeze imposed by the Constitution (42nd) Act, 1976, which is due in 2026.
Article 81 of the Constitution -the Lok Sabha was to comprise of not more than 550 members.
- Clause (1), there shall be allotted to each State a number of seats in the House of the People in such manner that the ratio between that number and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States.
- clause (3) defined the expression “population” for the purposes of Article 81 to mean the population as ascertained at the last preceding Census of which the relevant figures have been published.
42nd Amendment Act fixed the seats for LS, RS and State Assembly at population level of 1971 until 2001.
Eighty-fourth Amendment Act 2001 extended the deadline from 2000 to 2026.
Why this debate now?
As 2026 deadline is not far away so demand for the debate for the same has started.
- The concerns expressed by the States in 1976 which necessitated the freezing of seat allocation on the basis of 1971 population figures would appear to hold good even today and have to be addressed to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
- It will be difficult for Presiding Officers of the Houses/Legislatures to deal with such a large number of members jostling with each other to capture the attention of the Speaker to raise issues in the House
- Zero Hour, Question Hour and the raising matters of urgent public importance, which are warp and woof our democratic fabric, will be subjected to severe strain.