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Assembly Seats In Telugu States To Go Up Soon!

If the NDA government at the Centre has its way, the assembly seats in both the Telugu states – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – will go up substantially very soon.

Union minister for information and broadcasting and Urban development M Venkaiah Naidu has clarified that the cabinet note on increasing the number of seats in the Telugu states was ready with the union home ministry and it would get the cabinet nod soon after clearance from the law ministry.

Once the cabinet approves it, there would be a bill in Parliament amending the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 to replace the word “subject to” with “notwithstanding.

Once the bill is passed, it would facilitate the increase in assembly seats in AP from 175 to 225 and in Telangana from 119 to 153.

The Section 26 (1) of the AP Reorganisation Act states that "subject to the provisions of Article 170 of Constitution", the number of seats in the legislative assembly of the successor states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana shall be increased.

The Centre has now proposed to amend the Act deleting the reference of Article 170 to pave way for the increase of seats.

Legal experts, however, argue that the central government cannot increase the Assembly seats unless it amends Article 170 that calls for a moratorium on increase in the number of seats of state assemblies and the Lok Sabha till the first census after 2026. This means the Centre cannot change the present number of seats till the completion of the census in 2031.

On the other hand, sources in Union law ministry observed that it was a "drafting error" in the Act, where Section 26 begins with the phrase, 'subject to', instead of 'notwithstanding'.

Law ministry officials reportedly told the home ministry that an amendment is needed to 'rectify' the same.

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