The Madras High Court has asked the Centre why southern states, which have successfully controlled population, have fewer seats in Parliament than states that have a high population like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
In an order passed on 17 August, Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi said that Tamil Nadu should be monetarily compensated for the last 14 elections. The court estimated the amount to be Rs 5,600 crore.
The order states how originally Tamil Nadu had 41 representatives in the Lok Sabha till 1962, but that changed as they were able to reduce their population. The state's seats were reduced to 39 in the Parliament. It is not about two seats as every vote matters, the court said referring to the 1999 no-confidence motion against the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
The court observed how the state did not commit a mistake for the number of political representatives reducing. They added that the number of Rajya Sabha seats must therefore increase.
"Population control cannot be a factor to decide the number of political representatives of the states in the Parliament. Those states that failed to implement the birth control programmes were benefited with more political representatives in Parliament whereas states, especially, southern states, namely Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which successfully implemented the birth control programmes stood to lose two seats in each Parliament... States have been reorganised on linguistic basis as per the States Reorganisation Act, 1956. India is a multi-religious, multi-racial and multi-linguistic country. Therefore, the powers should be distributed equally and there should be a balance of powers," the court said.
The court said the increase in the number of seats would be an acknowledgment of Tamil Nadu's successful birth programme.
These observations were made by the court while they rejected a plea to de-serve the Tenkasi parliamentary constituency reserved for SC candidates. The court said it would remain so till the next delimitiation exercise in 2026.