Simultaneous Elections Current Affairs

Law Commission of India favours simultaneous elections

Law Commission of India, the government’s highest law advisory body has released draft White Paper recommending holding of simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice B.S. Chauhan has decided to seek opinion of all stakeholders, including political parties, on the issue.

Law Commission’s recommendations

Law Commission noted that simultaneous elections were held in country during first two decades after Independence up to 1967. Dissolution of certain Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 followed by dissolution of Lok Sabha led to disruption of conduct of simultaneous elections.

Simultaneous elections can be held now in the nation by amending Constitution, Representation of the People (RPI) Act, 1951 and Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha/State Legislative Assemblies. Moreover, definition of simultaneous elections should be added to Section 2 of RPI Act, 1951.

Issuance of Notification: The statutory limit of six months for issuance of notification of general elections be appropriately extended by way of amendments to section 14 and 15 of RPI Act, 1951.

No-confidence motion: The parties which introduce no-confidence motion should simultaneously give a suggestion for an alternative government as no-confidence motion and premature dissolution of House is major roadblocks to simultaneous elections.

Anti-defection law: The rigour of ‘Anti-defection Law’ laid down under paragraph 2(1) (b) of Tenth Schedule be removed as exception in order to prevent stalemate in the Lok Sabha/Assembly in case of Hung Parliament/Assembly.

Mid-term elections: In case of mid-term elections, new Lok Sabha or Assembly will only serve the remainder of term of previous Lok Sabha/Assembly and not a fresh term of five years. For this Article 83 and 172 of the Constitution along with sections 14 and 15 of the 1951 Act should be amended to incorporate provision regarding remainder of the term.

Selection of Prime Minister/CMs: The prime minister/chief ministers should be elected to lead Lok Sabha/Assembly, by full house like electing speaker of Lok Sabha. This will potentially provide stability to government and in turn to Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly

Constitutional amendments: Centre should get the Constitutional amendments, if agreed upon, to be ratified by all the States so as to avoid any challenge to them.

Background

The idea of ‘one nation one election’ has been proposed for many years starting with Law Commission suggestion in 1999. Most recently, Parliament’s standing committee 2015 report suggested holding simultaneous election to save public money and end policy paralysis because of impact of the model code of conduct. It had pegged the cost of holding elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies at Rs. 4500 crore. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had pitched for this idea.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

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President Ram Nath Kovind pitches for simultaneous elections

President Ram Nath Kovind has called for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies. He made this state while addressing the joint sitting of Parliament on the commencement of the Budget Session.

He made this statement arguing that frequent elections impede speed of development as officials have to assist in conducting polls. He called for sustained debate on subject of simultaneous elections and urged all political parties to arrive at consensus on this issue.

Need for simultaneous elections

  • Frequent elections affect the governance as imposition of model code of conduct in poll bound areas puts on hold all developmental activities on that area and also affects the bureaucracy’s functioning.
  • Elections in India are big-budget exercise. Expenditure can be reduced by conducting simultaneous elections.
  • Law Commission in its 170th report titled Reform of Electoral Laws (1999) had suggested holding simultaneous elections at all levels for stability in governance.
  • Frequent elections disrupt normal public life and affect functioning of essential services. Moreover, frequent elections lead to frequent disruption of road traffic by political rallies and also lead to noise pollution.
  • Crucial manpower especially teachers is often deployed on election duties for prolonged period of time. If simultaneous elections are held, then this manpower will be made available for other important tasks.

Difficulties

  • Not all voters are highly educated to know who to vote for. They may get confused and may not know whether they are voting for candidates contesting assembly or parliament elections.
  • Frequent elections bring politicians back to the voters, create jobs (though temporary) and prevent the mixing of local and national issues in the minds of the voters.
  • The issue of logistics and requirement of security personnel, election and administrative officials needs to be considered.
  • There is dearth of enough security and administrative officials to conduct simultaneous free and fair elections throughout the country in one go.
  • Mostly elections in big states are held various phases mainly due to security concerns. If this is situation, holding simultaneous elections for all the states, it may need to be held in many phases stretching over many months.

Background

The idea of ‘one nation one election’ has been proposed for many years starting with Law Commission suggestion in 1999. Most recently, Parliament’s standing committee 2015 report suggested holding simultaneous election to save public money and end policy paralysis because of impact of the model code of conduct. It had pegged the cost of holding elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies at Rs. 4500 crore. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had pitched for this idea.

Month: Categories: India Current Affairs 2018

Tags: