New Delhi, Apr 12: The Law Commission will on April 17 discuss if simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies to give shape to the government’s aim of ‘one nation, one election’. A source has revealed that the law panel is set to discuss if clubbing the two elections if feasible. The panel is also expected to discuss from when the simultaneous elections can be held.
A Times of India report that to make simultaneous elections a reality, the law panel is expected to consult the Election Commission of India and all other stakeholders and then submit its final recommendations to the government, which is openly supportive of the clubbing of the two. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often said that the country needs to hold simultaneous elections to curb expenditure.
The law panel which has favoured the idea of simultaneous elections ays that it could be possible by amending the Representation of the People Act and the Constitution. It had also recommended holding of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in two phases beginning 2019. The second phase of simultaneous polls can take place in 2024, the document states, PTI reported.
The document states that the simultaneous elections are possible if the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act could be amended to shorten or extend the terms of state legislative assemblies to effect the move. The working paper will be discussed by the ‘full commission’ on April 17.
“It is a draft document and no final decision has been taken. If members suggest, changes could be made before a final report is submitted to the law ministry,” a top law panel functionary was quoted as saying by PTI. Under phase I, the states (where assembly polls are due in 2021) that can be covered include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
States that will come under phase II include Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab. In order to hold elections in these states along with Lok Sabha polls, the terms of the assemblies have to be extended.
Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat had said that the legal framework required for the simultaneous elections will take a lot of time to get ready.
“We cannot put the cart before the horse. Logistical issues are subservient to legal framework. Unless legal framework is in place, we don’t have to talk about anything else because legal framework will take a lot of time, making constitutional amendment to (changing) the law, all the process will take time,” he said.
With agency inputs