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Law Commission working on formula so that 2029 onwards LS, assembly polls can be held together

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-level polls.

Law Commission working on formula so that 2029 onwards LS, assembly polls can be held together
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NEW DELHI: The Law Commission is working on a formula to synchronise all assembly polls by extending or reducing the tenure so that all state elections can be held along with the Lok Sabha polls 2029 onwards, sources said on Friday.

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-level polls.

The sources also said 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 undertaking an almost identical exercise which is carried out now by the Election Commission and various state election commissions.

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

For synchronising various assembly polls to ensure both state and Lok Sabha elections are held together from 2029 onwards, 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 the polling booth only once to cast their ballot for both the elections.

They said since assembly and parliamentary polls are held in phases, the Commission is working out modalities to see that voters do not go to polling stations more than once to cast their ballot for the two polls.

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

As of now the mandate of the Commission is to suggest ways to hold 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 one year. In the first phase, Lok Sabha and assembly polls can be held and in the second phase, local body polls can be organised.

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 had endorsed the Modi government's proposal to hold simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies, saying it will prevent the country from being in constant election mode, but it had 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 had asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of holding simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

PTI
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