'SC seeks response from Centre on plea against delimitation exercise in Nagaland
New Delhi, July 30: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on a plea challenging an order to resume the delimitation exercise in Nagaland based on a 2001 census.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Jusitces A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian tagged the plea with an earlier petition related to delimitation in neighbouring Assam.
The petition sought quashing of the order passed by the centre on February 28, terming it "arbitrary and violative of Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution."
It sought a direction that the delimitation exercise to be conducted based on the 2021 census.
The petition sought stay on the February 28 order passed by the Centre till the time matter is decided before the court.
Earlier the delimitation exercise was deferred in the state by an order dated February 8, 2008.
The petition said that the 2008 order was passed considering the law and order, disturbance to tribal equilibrium, ongoing peace talks etc.
"The new order is arbitrary since the reasons continue to exist and there is no change in circumstances," the petition, filed by Chakhesang Public Organisation (CPO), an organisation of the Chakhesang (Naga) tribe, said.
It further said that "the object of delimitation would best be served in case the last census i.e. 2011 census figures are made the basis for the delimitation exercise or the census of 2021 which is currently underway."
"State of Nagaland has a unique history of insurgency and is comprised of several tribes having their distinctive language, cultural and customs. It is because of these circumstances that the State of Nagaland enjoys special constitutional guarantee under Article 371A of the Constitution of India.
"The impugned order seeking resumption of delimitation exercise based on 2001 census would certainly disturb the tribal equilibrium/demarcations and lead to abrogating their constitutional rights," it said.
It further said that that the grievance with the 2001 census figures for the State of Nagaland is marred by several fallacies and abnormalities which have not been corrected even after 14 years of protracted litigation.