Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says legal fraternity can debate simultaneous polls

A day after the President and the Prime Minister pushed for simultaneous polls, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday called for a debate among legal fraternity on the idea.

Speaking at a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) at the launch of its monthly journal 'SCBA Times', Pasad asked whether the journal could provoke a national debate on whether simultaneous elections should be held in the country.

President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address to Parliament, had pitched for simultaneous elections to Parliament and state assemblies, saying frequent polls imposed a "huge burden" on resources and impeded development process.

The journal was launched by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the presence of several other apex court judges, including justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph, U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. SCBA president Vikas Singh was also present.

CJI Misra did not make any comments on the recent controversy caused by dissenting seniormost judges on allocation of cases.

Prasad said every year there were several elections in the country and every poll entailed a heavy expenditure with deployment of huge manpower.

"Can your journal provoke a debate in the country, purely as a constitutional issue - should we have simultaneous elections in the entire country? I do not wish to make any political comment but just now we had two state elections - Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh," he said.

"Every year, there are six-seven elections and I am not talking about municipal elections. Every election entails heavy expenditure. And when the model code of conduct comes, there is a problem of not taking any action. So much security personnel are involved in ensuring free and fair elections. I think your platform, in a way, can consider having a debate," he said.

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