In an observation made on August 17, a Madras High Court bench said that Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have faced unfair representation in the Lok Sabha since 1962.
At a time when the Centre is reportedly working to increase the number of Lok Sabha seats to around 1000 as claimed by Congress MP Manish Tewari, the Madras High Court has brought to fore the issue of population to seat ratio.
In an observation made on August 17, a Madras High Court bench said that Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have faced unfair representation in the Lok Sabha since 1962. The bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi noted that the two states had managed to control the population successfully but in turn lost seats in the Lok Sabha. The bench noted that Tamil Nadu had 41 Lok Sabha members in 1962 which was slashed to 39 before the 1967 elections as the state reduced its population successfully. Andhra Pradesh had 43 seats in 1962 which was reduced to 41 before 1967.
The court made these observations while hearing a writ petition seeking to convert the reserved Tenkasi Lok Sabha constituency into a general seat. However, the court rejected the plea saying that Tenkasi has a large population of Scheduled Castes.
The bench, however, asked the Central government to consider if Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh’s Lok Sabha representation can be restored by compensating the states monetarily.
The court observed that the contribution of an MP in five years could be at least Rs 200 crore and for every election, Tamil Nadu should be compensated with a sum of Rs 400 crore for the reduction of two seats. “Tamil Nadu has to get compensation for the loss of two seats in 14 elections, which is 28 seats, which amounts to approximately Rs 5,600 crore,” India Today reported the court as saying.
The court also asked why the states which could not successfully control the population have more representation in Parliament? “Why not compensate these states (Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) with equal Rajya Sabha seats?” said the court.
The Madras High Court also asked the Central government to see if Article 81 can be amended to ensure that population change does not affect the number of parliamentary constituencies held by the states.