THE CONSTITUTION (THIRTY-FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 1973

THE CONSTITUTION (THIRTY-FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 1973

Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution
(Thirty-first Amendment) Bill, 1973 (Bill No. 31 of 1973) which was
enacted as the Constitution (Thirty-first Amendment) Act, 1973

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

Clause (1) of article 81 of the Constitution provides that the House
of the People shall consist of not more than 500 members to be chosen
by direct election from territorial constituencies in the States and
not more than 25 members to represent the Union territories, chosen in
such manner as Parliament may by law provide. As a result of the
enactment of the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971 (81 of
1971), the total number of seats in the Lok Sabha allotted to the
States has increased to 506, six more than the permissible limit of
500 under article 81. The actual total number of elected members of
the present Lok Sabha is 522 (489 from the fifteen major States, 17
from the six smaller States of Himanchal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir,
Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura each of which has a
population of less than six millions and 16 from the nine Union
territories).

2. Clause (2) of article 81 of the Constitution lays down that for
the purposes of sub-clause (a) of 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 and that each
State shall be divided into territorial constituencies in such manner
that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the
number of seats allotted to it is, so far as practicable, the same
throughout the State. Under clause (3) of article 81, the expression
"population" means the population as ascertained in the last preceding
census of which the relevant figures have been published. Article 82
enjoins that on the completion of each census, the allocation of seats
in the House of the People to the State and the division of each State
into territorial constituencies shall be readjusted by such authority
and in such manner as Parliament may by law determine. In pursuance
of article 82, Parliament had enacted the Delimitation Act, 1972 and
the Delimitation Commission has been constituted to undertake the
necessary task of the readjustment envisaged in article 82. It will
be noticed that adherence to the principles laid down in clause (2) of
article 81 by the Delimitation Commission in undertaking readjustment
as enjoined by article 82 on the basis of the 1971-census figures may
have the effect of affecting the number of seats allotted to the
States in the House of the People. It is felt that it would be better
to ensure that any readjustment and consequent allocation of seats
does not adversely affect the existing number of seats allotted to
each State in the House of the People and to achieve this purpose it
would be necessary to increase the strength of the Lok Sabha suitably.

3. In order to ensure that there is no reduction in the existing
representation in the House of the People in respect of any of the
States, clause 2 of the Bill seeks to amend article 81 so as to
increase the upper limit for representation of the States from 500 to
525. The opportunity is taken to decrease the limit for the Union
territories from 25 to 20, as the existing representation for Union
territories is only 16. Government also consider it necessary to make
an amendment in clause (2) of article 81 to provide that the
provisions of sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 81 shall not be
applicable to any State so long as its population does not exceed six
millions. This is to ensure that the existing representation in the
Lok Sabha is maintained for the smaller States referred to in
paragraph 1 above.

4. Article 330 of the Constitution relates to reservation of seats in
the Lok Sabha for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The
provisons of this article have, however, been made inapplicable to the
State of Nagaland on the ground that it has a predominantly tribal
population. According to the 1971-census, 88.6 per cent. of
Nagaland's population belong to the Scheduled Tribes. The
corresponding figures for the State of Meghalaya and the Union
territories of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram are 80.5 per cent., 79.0
per cent. and 94.3 per cent. respectively. Government, therefore,
consider that the provisions of article 330 should not apply also to
the predominantly tribal units of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and
Mizoram. Similarly, it is considered that as in the case of Nagaland,
there need be no reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the
Legislative Assembly of the State of Meghalaya and the article 332 of
the Constitution may be amended suitably. Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill
seek to achieve these objects.

NEW DELHI; H. R. GOKHALE.

The 18th April, 1973.

THE CONSTITUTION (THIRTY-FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 1973

[17th October, 1973.]

An Act further to amend the Constitution of India.

BE It enacted by Parliament in the Twenty-fourth Year of the Republic
of India as follows:---

1. Short title.-This Act may be called the Constitution (Thirty-first
Amendment) Act, 1973.

2. Amendment of article 81.-In article 81 of the Constitution,-

(a) in clause (1),-

(i) in sub-clause (a), for the words "five hundred members", the words
"five hundred and twenty-five members" shall be substituted; and

(ii) in sub-clause (b), for the words "twenty-five members", the words
"twenty members" shall be substituted;

(b) in clause (2), after sub-clause (b), the following proviso shall
be inserted, namely:-

"Provided that the provisions of sub-clause (a) of this clause shall
not be applicable for the purpose of allotment of seats in the House
of the People to any State so long as the population of that State
does not exceed six millions.".

3. Amendment of article 330.-(1) In article 330 of the
Constitution,-

(a) in sub-clause (b) of clause (1), for the words "except the
Scheduled Tribes in the tribal areas of Assam and in Nagaland, and",
the following shall be substituted, namely:-

"except the Scheduled Tribes-

(i) in the tribal areas of Assam;

(ii) in Nagaland;

(iii) in Meghalaya;

(iv) in Arunachal Pradesh; and

(v) in Mizoram; and";

(b) after clause (2), the following clause shall be inserted,
namely:-

"(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (2), the number of
seats reserved in the House of the People for the Scheduled Tribes in
the autonomous districts of Assam shall bear to the total number of
seats allotted to that State a proportion not less than the population
of the Scheduled Tribes in the said autonomous districts bears to the
total population of the State.".

(2) The amendment made to article 330 of the Constitution by
sub-section (1) shall not affect any representation in the House of
the People until the dissolution of the House of the People existing
at the commencement of this Act.

4. Amendment of article 332.-(1) In article 332 of the Constitution,
in clause (1), for the words "except the Scheduled Tribes in the
tribal areas of Assam and in Nagaland" the words "except the Scheduled
Tribes in the tribal areas of Assam, in Nagaland and in Meghalaya"
shall be substituted.

(2) The amendment made to article 332 of the Constitution by
sub-section (1) shall not affect any representation in the Legislative
Assembly of the State of Meghalaya until the dissolution of that
Legislative Assembly existing at the commencement of this Act.