This Article is From Sep 29, 2023

Simultaneous Polls From 2029? Law Commission Working On Formula: Report

The Law Commission is working out modalities for the smooth conduct of the simultaneous elections, sources said.

Simultaneous Polls From 2029? Law Commission Working On Formula: Report

The Law Commission is of the view that simultaneous polls can be held, sources said (Representational)

New Delhi:

The Law Commission is working on a formula to synchronise all assembly polls by extending or reducing the tenure so states can go to polls along with the Lok Sabha 2029 onwards, sources said.

As the government has already set up a high-level panel to explore simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha, state assemblies, and local bodies, the Law Commission may also be asked to include the third tier of elections along with its current mandate for national and state polls.

The law panel is devising a mechanism to ensure a common electoral roll for Lok Sabha, assemblies, and local bodies to reduce cost and use of manpower for an almost identical exercise carried out now by the Election Commission and the state election commissions, the sources added.

The Law Commission's report on simultaneous polls is not ready as some issues are yet to be settled, they pointed out.

For synchronising various assembly polls to ensure both state and Lok Sabha elections are held together from 2029, the Commission, under Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, may suggest reducing or enhancing the tenure of legislative assemblies.

A mechanism is being devised to ensure that once Lok Sabha and assembly polls are synchronised, voters go to polling booths just once to cast their ballot for both elections.

Since assembly and parliamentary polls are held in phases, the Commission is working out modalities to see that voters do not have to go to the polling stations more than once for the two polls, they said.

The Commission, they said, is of the view that assembly and parliamentary polls can be held together and it is working out modalities for the smooth conduct of the mammoth democratic process.

As of now the mandate of the Commission is to suggest ways to hold the assembly and Lok Sabha polls together. But the high-level committee under former President Ram Nath Kovind has been tasked with recommending how Lok Sabha, assembly, and local body polls (panchayat, municipalities, zila parishad) can be held together.

Keeping in mind the terms of reference of the Kovind panel, the ambit of the Law Commission can also be increased to include holding local body polls along with national and state polls, the sources said.

One suggestion the law panel can make is to hold the three-tier polls in two phases in a year. In the first phase, Lok Sabha and assembly polls can be held, while in the second phase, local bodies can go to polls.

This, the sources said, is a practical approach keeping in mind the varied climatic conditions in the country.

In August 2018, the previous Law Commission endorsed the Modi government's proposal to hold simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies, saying it would prevent the country from being in constant election mode. It however sought further public discourse on the issue before arriving at a final decision.

The panel in its draft report had also said the exercise cannot be held in the present constitutional framework, and suggested changes required to carry out the two sets of polls together.

In April 2018, the law ministry asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of holding simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)