Law panel seeks stakeholders’ opinion on simultaneous polls

Constitutional experts, parties, bureaucrats and academics asked to submit views by May 8.

Published: 18th April 2018 12:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2018 12:32 AM   |  A+A-

EVM, Voting

Image used for representational purpose.

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Law Commission of India on Tuesday sought the views of constitutional experts, political parties and other stakeholders on the possibility of holding simultaneous polls from next year.

As reported first by Express on April 11, the law panel’s working draft report has recommended holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies in two phases – the first in 2019 and the second in 2024.

After holding a full commission meeting on Tuesday, the panel issued a public notice: “It was unanimously resolved that before finalising and forwarding its report to the Government of India, the Law Commission should seek the opinion of all the stakeholders, including constitutional experts, academia, political parties, bureaucrats, students etc on the subject, or any other allied issues that may be deemed appropriate.”

Those interested in placing their views have to submit them by May 8.

The commission also put out a summary of the working paper. It said simultaneous elections could be held in two phases beginning 2019, provided at least two provisions of the Constitution were amended and ratified by majority of the states. Some provisions of the Representation of the People Act will also have to be amended by a simple majority in Parliament, it said.

For holding simultaneous polls, Articles 83 (2) and 172 (1) of the Constitution -- which deals with tenures of the Lok Sabha and state assemblies -- would have to be appropriately amended, the document recommended. Besides, if a government falls mid-term, the new government’s term would be for the remaining period, “not for a fresh five-year term”.

The states that will be covered under phase I of the simultaneous polls are those where assembly polls are due in 2019, 2020 and 2021. These include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The states that will come under phase II are Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab. To hold elections in these states along with the Lok Sabha polls, the terms of the assemblies have to be extended.

The Law Commission also submitted its report on “Review of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971” on Tuesday, saying it was against restricting the exercise of power of contempt of court by the judiciary. On April 12, Express had first reported that the panel was against restricting the contempt of court law as the move had the potential to “lessen the respect for courts”.

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