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Law Commission’s Recommendations for Simultaneous Polls

Why is it in the news?

  • The Law Commission of India has formulated three significant Constitutional amendments to lay the foundation for the ‘One Nation, One Election’ initiative slated for 2029.

More about the news

  • The 22nd Law Commission, led by former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, proposes the addition of a new chapter in the Constitution focusing on simultaneous polls.
  • Currently, Part XV of the Constitution governs elections, outlining the Election Commission’s role and emphasizing adult suffrage.
  • The anticipated recommendation involves the insertion of a new chapter, named Part XVA, to specifically address provisions for simultaneous polls. This proposed amendment aims to establish a legal framework for synchronized elections at various levels of governance, aligning with the ‘One Nation, One Election’ concept.

Recommendations: Three major Constitutional Amendments

  • While the law panel has not submitted its report to the government, it has made detailed presentations of its likely recommendations before the high-level committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind.

1) Synchronization of Assembly Elections

  • The Commission’s report advocates for a phased approach towards synchronizing assembly elections across the country in preparation for simultaneous polls by 2029.
  • It proposes two stages of synchronizing assembly elections over the next five years, with the ultimate goal of aligning all state elections with the Lok Sabha polls in 2029.
  • The vision is to hold elections for all levels of governance – from the central government to municipal and panchayat bodies – simultaneously.

2) Sustainability of Simultaneous Polls

  • Addressing concerns regarding the practicality and sustainability of simultaneous elections, the Law Commission suggests a second Constitutional amendment.
  • This amendment would focus on tackling scenarios such as hung assemblies or mid-term government falls.
  • The proposed solution involves attempting to establish an all-party “unity” government in the event of a government collapse during its tenure. If this isn’t feasible, elections would be held for the remaining term before the next cycle of simultaneous polls.

3) Common Voter List

  • The third Constitutional amendment proposed by the Law Commission pertains to establishing a common voter list.
  • Currently, different voter lists are maintained for various types of elections, creating discrepancies and hindrances to universal franchise.
  • The implementation of a common voter list aims to ensure that every citizen has the right to vote across all levels of governance.
About Simultaneous Elections

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Simultaneous Elections involve the synchronization of Lok Sabha and State legislative assembly elections, intended to reduce the frequency of elections and associated costs.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Historically, India conducted simultaneous elections in select years between 1951 and 1967, but maintaining this schedule became challenging in subsequent years.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Various governmental bodies, including the Election Commission, Law Commission, and Parliamentary Standing Committee, have supported the concept of simultaneous elections over the years.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Reports from entities like NITI Aayog have also advocated for this approach as a means of enhancing governance efficiency.

Arguments For One Nation One Election

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Advocates argue that simultaneous elections would lead to significant cost savings by eliminating the need for separate election cycles. Further, reduction in election-related expenditure and resources could enhance administrative efficiency.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Holding elections simultaneously would free up crucial manpower that is typically deployed for election duties over prolonged periods.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 With elections less frequently, governments and political parties could shift their focus from campaigning to governance and developmental activities.

Arguments Against One Nation One Election

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Coordinating the schedules and resources for simultaneous elections across diverse regions poses significant logistical challenges.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 There are concerns that simultaneous elections could disadvantage regional parties, as national issues might overshadow regional concerns.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Conducting simultaneous elections would entail substantial financial costs, including expenses related to infrastructure, security, and administration.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Premature dissolution due to a vote of no-confidence could become more complicated to address under a system of simultaneous elections.

Conclusion

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Given the complex nature of the issue and the potential implications, stakeholders emphasize the importance of a sustained debate among political parties.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 It’s crucial to reach a consensus before taking any significant steps towards implementing simultaneous elections.

 

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