Sikkim Assembly Expansion

Context:

  • The Home Ministry has moved the Union Cabinet to increase the number of seats in the Sikkim Assembly from 32 to 40.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will soon decide on the proposal.

 

Background

  • A petition was moved in the Supreme Court that Limboos and Tamangs were not adequately represented in the Assembly, and the court in 2016 directed the Home Ministry to take action.
  • The tribal community nursed a sense of deprivation of their political and fundamental rights, ever since they had been declared a Scheduled Tribe in 2003 under Article 342 of the Constitution.
  • There are 90,000 Limboo-Tamangs.
  • By the Delimitation Act, 2002, the number of seats in an Assembly can be readjusted only on the basis of the first census after 2026.
  • The Second Schedule to the Representation of People Act, 1950 and Section 5A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 have been amended to change the Assembly strength.

ias4sure.com - Sikkim Assembly Expansion

 

Bhutias-Lepchas

  • Sikkim has 12 seats reserved for Bhutias-Lepchas.
  • It is not because they are a Scheduled Tribe, but as a sequel to a political agreement in 1973 between the Government of India, the former Chogyal (King) of Sikkim and political parties.

 

Significance

  • The seats are being increased to accommodate the Limboo and Tamang communities, notified as Scheduled Tribes in January 2003.
  • Of the eight new seats, five will be reserved for them.
  • If approved, it will be the first expansion of the Assembly since Sikkim merged with India in 1975.

 

Limbu

  • They are Kirati people indigenous and native to their homeland himalayas, hills, mountainous and plains regions.

 

Tamang people

  • Tibeto-Burman ethnic group

 

Bhutias

  • They are a community of people of Tibetan ancestry, who speak Lhopo or Sikkimese, a Tibetan dialect.
  • The Bhutias are spread out over Nepal, Bhutan, and in northern West Bengal, especially in the towns of Kalimpong and Darjeeling.
  • The Bhutias as recognized as Scheduled Tribes in the states of Sikkim, West Bengal and Tripura.

 

Lepchas

  • They are among the indigenous peoples of Sikkim.