- A draft white paper released by the Law Commission of India recommends holding of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies, possibly in 2019.
Highlights of the paper:
Past record of simultaneous election:
- The commission says simultaneous elections were held in the country during the first two decades after Independence up to 1967.
- Dissolution of certain Assemblies in 1968 and 1969 followed by the dissolution of the Lok Sabha led to the disruption of the conduct of simultaneous elections.
Recommendation on simultaneous election:
- The commission recommends that in 2019, the election could be held in phases.
- In the first phase, states in which elections are to be held till 2021 can be clubbed with the LokSabha polls in 2019.
- The rest of the States could go to elections in proximity with the LokSabha elections of 2024.
Whats needs to be done for simultaneous election?
- Amendments: Putting an end to the debate of whether Constitutional amendments were required or not for holding simultaneous polls, the commission suggested that amendments would have to be made in the Constitution, Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and rules of procedure of LokSabha and those of the state legislative assemblies.
- Definition of simultaneous election: The commission further suggested that a definition of simultaneous elections should also be added to Section 2 of the RPA 1951 Act.
- Local body model: The panel says that in case of mid-term elections, the new LokSabha or Assembly would only serve the remainder of the term of the previous LokSabha/Assembly and not a fresh term of five years.
- Constructive Vote of no Confidence:
- Citing no-confidence motion and premature dissolution of House as major roadblocks to simultaneous elections, the commission says the parties which introduce the no-confidence motion should simultaneously give a suggestion for an alternative government.
- Hence it proposed that the ‘Vote of No Confidence’ be replaced with a “Constructive Vote of no Confidence” by amending the rules of procedure and conduct of business of LokSabha.
- Limit of six months:
- It has also proposed certain amendments to Section 14 and 15 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, so that the statutory limit of six months for the issuance of notification of general elections be appropriately extended.
- This would provide the flexibility required to position states either in one group or the other as one-time measure to conduct one election.
- Anti-defection law:
- It suggests the relaxation of the “rigours” of the anti-defection law in the Tenth Schedule be removed as an exception to prevent a stalemate in the LokSabha or Assemblies in case of a hung Parliament or Assembly.
- However, there is ambiguity here as the commission has also raised a question on whether the rigour of schedule 10 to the Constitution can be diluted only for the formation of a stable government.
- Cooperative federalism: The commission says the Centre should get the Constitutional amendments, if agreed upon, to be ratified by all the States so as to avoid any challenge to them.