Law Panel ready reports on simultaneous poll
- September 27, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Law Panel ready reports on simultaneous poll
Context: The Law Commission of India is set to submit a report recommending simultaneous elections in the country.
More about the news:
- The Law Commission of India is preparing to submit a report advocating simultaneous elections in the country, possibly with tentative timelines for the 2024 and 2029 election cycles.
- The report is one of three from the 22nd Law Commission, with the others focusing on the minimum age of consent in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and proposing a law for online filing of First Information Reports (FIRs).
- A high-level committee led by former President Ram Nath Kovind is already examining simultaneous elections, citing national interest, and has sought input from the Law Commission and political parties.
- In 2018, the 21st Law Commission also recommended the ‘One Nation, One Election’ concept but suggested further discussion and examination before final recommendations.
- The 22nd Law Commission was established in February 2020 and had its term extended to August 31, 2024, with Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi as its chairperson, appointed in November 2022.
What is Simultaneous election:
- The concept of “One Nation, One Election” envisions a system in which all state and Lok Sabha elections must be held simultaneously.
- This will entail restructuring the Indian election cycle so that elections to the states and the center coincide.
- This would imply that voters will vote for members of the LS and state assemblies on the same day and at the same time.
What is the history holding of Simultaneous Election in India:
- Simultaneous elections have previously been conducted in India in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967.
- Soon after, this norm was discontinued following the dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies between 1968 -69.
- Since then, the Indian Electoral system holds polls to Centre and states separately.
What are the Constitutional challenges involved:
- The Indian Constitution provides for the dissolution of the legislature if the ruling party loses majority by passing a vote of no confidence.
- Clause (2) of Article 83, Article 172(1) of Indian constitution deals with the term of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies respectively.
- Through Articles 85(2)(b) and 174(2)(b) these Houses can be dissolved ahead of the scheduled expiry of the term of five years
- However, there is no provision for extension of the term unless a proclamation of Emergency is in operation.
- Bringing the terms of all the Houses to sync with one another necessarily calls for either extending the terms of several of the Houses or curtailing of terms or a combination of both, that too by two to three years in some cases.
- In such a case, simultaneous elections could not be held within the existing framework of the Constitution.
- These could be held together through appropriate amendments to:
- The Constitution,
- The Representation of the People Act 1951, and
- The Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
- Since it will affect federal character, at least 50% of the states will require to ratify the constitutional amendments.
Some facts about Law Commission of India:
- Law Commission of India is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body, it is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India.
- The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.
- Its membership primarily comprises legal experts. It plays a crucial role in legal reforms and the development of the Indian legal system.
- The first Law Commission was established in 1955, and since then, there have been several subsequent commissions.
- The Law Commission operates under the Law Commission Act, 1956.
- Composition: The Commission consists of a chairman, who is typically a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court, and other members, including legal experts and scholars.
- Role and Functions: The primary function of the Law Commission is to examine and review the existing laws of the country, suggest reforms, and make recommendations for new legislation. It also conducts research, studies, and consultations on various legal issues referred to it by the government.
- The Commission conducts in-depth research on legal matters, examines specific subjects, and prepares detailed reports with recommendations for legal reforms. These reports cover a wide range of topics, including civil and criminal laws, family laws, constitutional law, administrative law, and other legal areas.