NEW DELHI: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) newsletter launch on Tuesday asked whether the journal can initiate a debate on the need for holding simultaneous elections in the country.
Prasad said the country can't afford multiple elections as each separate election entails huge expenditure on security personnel, arrangements and once the model code of conduct kicks in a lot of decisions can't be taken.
"Can your journal provoke a debate in the country, purely as a constitutional issue, should we have simultaneous elections in the entire country? I do not wish to make any political comment but just now we had two state elections -- Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh," said Prasad, who was present at the launch of the inaugural issue of 'SCBA Times', a monthly journal started by the bar.
He said every year there are at least 6-7 elections and excluding the municipal elections and every election entails heavy expenditure, said Prasad.
The Union Minister also referred to the upcoming polls and said "in one and a half months, we are going to have elections in Tripura and also in Meghalaya. Thereafter, we are going to have election in Karnataka. After two months, we are going to have elections of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh".
The event was attended by Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra, and other judges of the Supreme Court, including two out of the four dissenting judges, who in an unprecedented move, went public with their concerns over the conduct of the CJI, especially over the allocation of cases, at a press conference on January 12.
Two dissenting judges -- Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justice Ranjan Gogoi gave a miss to the SCBA function, while Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph attended the event.
On Monday, President Ram Nath Kovind pitched for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies in his address to both Houses of Parliament, saying that frequent elections impede the speed of development as officials have to assist in conducting polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been batting for simultaneous polls in the country, saying it would save a lot of resources.
Justice Misra, releasing the journal, said that the Law Minister "has felt privileged and honoured to be present here, but apart from feeling privileged and honoured I am happy to be here" - referring to himself.
SCBA Times was was not an ordinary journal, said the CJI, adding that it was focused on the basic aspect of every individual, like health camp which was recently organised in the top court, and also lays stress on diversified ideas.
Every member of this bar or any bar in India will eagerly wait for the next issue of the journal and will be curious about its contents, information etc., said the CJI.
He congratulated the bar and editors of the journal for coming up with the SCBA Times.
SCBA President, senior advocate Vikas Singh said that it was a "historic moment" and it can play a major role for progress of the nation and the lawyers' body had a huge responsibility.