April 18, 2018
It has been reported that the Law Commission of India on April 17, 2018 issued a Public Notice notifying that a Draft Working Paper on “Simultaneous Elections – Constitutional and Legal Perspectives” has been prepared by the Commission. The Commission has now invited suggestions and opinions from the stakeholders on the working paper by May 8th, 2018.
The Public Notice and Draft Working Paper can be accessed here.
In the Draft Working Paper, Law Commission states that simultaneous elections may be restored in the Nation by amending the Constitution, the Representation of People Act, 1951 and the Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and those of the State Legislative Assemblies.
The law Commission recommends that in order to synchronize the elections, the option of holding the election in phases, as one-time measure may be viable. In this regard, the Standing Committee of Parliament has made certain recommendations on the First Phase elections to the State Legislatures which are scheduled to go for Poll synchronous with Lok Sabha in 2019 can be held together. The rest of the States can be synchronized with 2024 General elections, appropriately extending the terms of the respective assemblies. Thereafter, simultaneous elections can be in 5 years. Another option is to hold the General Elections 2019 alongwith the Elections to Assemblies of the formatter group of States and after 30 months, hold elections with the latter group of States. The measures suggested could be held every two and a half years. The measures suggested above will require amendments to the Constitution as well as the Representation of People Act, 1951. As an abundant caution and in order to avoid a challenge to the amendments on the ground of not having obtained ratification by majority of the States, such ratification could be obtained for the proposed amendments.