Law panel invites suggestions for simultaneous polls

The Law Commission has sought suggestions for holding simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, saying it can be done, provided there were amendments to the Constitution and the electoral laws.

Putting out its working paper, it said simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies can be held in two phases beginning 2019 and the second phase from 2024.

But for it at least two provisions of the Constitution Articles 83 (2) and 172 (1), dealing with tenures of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, and the Representation of the People Act is to be amended and ratified by a majority of the states, the Law Commission said.

The panel invited views of constitutional experts, political parties and other stakeholders by May 8 before finalising its report on the subject.

According to the document, the leader of the majority party be elected as the prime minister or the chief minister by the entire house (Lok Sabha or state assembly) to ensure the stability of the government as well as the Lok Sabha or the Assembly.

It suggested that in case a government falls mid-term, the term of the new government would be for the remaining period "and not for a fresh five-year term".

"As an abundant caution and in order to avoid a challenge (in the courts) to amendments on the ground of not having obtained ratification by a majority of the states, such ratification could be obtained for the proposed (constitutional) amendment," the working paper stated.

The states which are recommended to be covered under phase I are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. States which will come under phase II are Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab. These states are due for Assembly polls in 2021 and to hold elections in these states along with Lok Sabha polls, the terms of the assemblies have to be extended.

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