Constitutional amendment a must for ‘One Nation, One Poll’, law panel to tell govt
New Delhi, Aug 28: Amidst speculations over the possibility of simultaneous elections taking place in 2019, the Law Commission of India is expected to tell the government that idea of 'One Nation One Poll' will not be possible unless the Constitution is amended.
According to the reports, the panel is going to recommend amendments to the Constitution as well as the Representation of the People Act if simultaneous polls are to be held. The panel will say in the report that without effecting these changes, it will not be possible to hold state Assembly and Lok Sabha polls together.
While the government would have no obligation to act on the Law Commission's recommendations, these are surely going to become the reference for any future debate on the issue among political parties and other stakeholders.
The Law Commission had said in a study paper in April that simultaneous polls could take place in two phases starting in 2019, after the Constitution is amended as required and a majority of states also ratify those changes. As per that plan, the second phase of simultaneous election would be held in 2024.
However, CEC Rawat debunked the likelihood of any such development saying, "Koi chance nahi (no chance at all)." He was responding to a question in Aurangabad on the feasibility of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and state Assembly polls in the near future.
The CEC said a legal framework was required before such a mammoth exercise could be undertaken. "The lawmakers will take at least a year to frame a law that can be enforceable. This process takes time. As soon as the Bill to amend the Constitution is ready, we (the Election Commission) will know that things are now moving)," Rawat had said.
Following CEC Rawat's remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described the debate on simultaneous polls as a healthy sign for democracy. "The government and the opposition - both are putting forth their view points. This is a good development and a healthy sign for our democracy," the PM said.
"I must say that developing healthy traditions for a sound democracy, making constant efforts to strengthen democracy, encouraging open-minded debates would also be an appropriate tribute to Atalji," he added in his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address.
Meanwhile, Opposition parties on Monday once again opposed the idea of simultaneous polls at a meeting with the Election Commission (EC).
"Many parties opposed (the idea) of 'One Nation, One Poll', while there were some who made valid points in favour of it," Chief Election Officer O P Rawat told journalists after the poll panel held a consultation with political parties at Nirvachan Sadhan in New Delhi.
The ruling BJP and some of its allies, however, reiterated their support to the proposal.
The Election Commission had earlier this month virtually ruled out the possibility of holding simultaneous polls in 2019, citing logistical constraints and and constitutional amendments.