Former President Ram Nath Kovind chaired the first meeting of the 'One Nation One Election' committee . (Photo | PTI)
Former President Ram Nath Kovind chaired the first meeting of the 'One Nation One Election' committee . (Photo | PTI)

‘1 nation 1 poll’ panel seeks public comments in 10 days

A public notice says that suggestions should reach by January 15

NEW DELHI: A high-level committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, has invited suggestions from the public “for making appropriate changes in the existing legal administrative framework to enable simultaneous elections in the country”.

However, a public notice published on January 5, says that the suggestions must be submitted by January 15, leaving a short window for the public to make recommendations on ‘simultaneous polls’, which involves complex constitutional amendments and changes.

The Centre had set up the panel on September 2 to examine and recommend holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies and local bodies.

In a public notice, the panel said that the suggestions from the public received by January 15 would be taken up for consideration. The suggestions can be posted on the committee’s website onoe.gov.in or sent by e-mail to sc-hlc@gov.in.

Recently, the committee had written to political parties seeking their views and a meeting on a “mutually agreed date” on the proposal of holding simultaneous polls. The panel said that letters have been sent to six national, 33 state, and seven registered unrecognised parties, inviting their suggestions. However, several opposition-ruled states are opposed to the idea of ‘one nation one poll’ mooted by Prime Minister Modi in 2014.

The panel has held only two meetings since its formation last September. It has also heard the views of the Law Commission headed by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, which is on the process of finalising its report on simultaneous polls.

The Law Commission, in its first meeting with the Kovind panel on October 25, had submitted suggestions that included proposed changes to the Constitution for holding simultaneous polls in the country.

Some of the terms of reference of the high-level committee are to examine if constitutional amendments would have to be ratified by the state assemblies.

The committee has been also asked to analyse and recommend possible solutions if there are scenarios like a hung house, adoption of no-confidence motion or defection. “The committee will examine the logistics and manpower required, including EVMs, VVPATs, etc, for holding such simultaneous elections,” as per the panel’s terms of reference.

Many experts have pointed out that the main challenge to the proposal has been the requirement of five constitutional amendments to facilitate simultaneous polls.

The amendment of Articles 83, 85, 172, 174, and 356 of the Constitution and certain legislative changes are required to conduct simultaneous polls in the country.

Kovind had earlier endorsed the proposal saying that many committees, including the parliamentary committee, NITI Aayog, Election Commission of India, and others have said that the tradition of ‘one nation one election’ needs to be revived in the country.

The Ram Nath Kovind-headed panel on ‘One Nation One Election’ has held only two meetings since its formation in September last year. It has also heard the views of the Law Commission headed by Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, which is on the process of finalising its report on simultaneous elections.

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