One Nation One Election: Kovind-led Committee says it will aid development, deepen democratic roots

A panel led by former President Ram Nath Kovind has backed the idea of holding lections to the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies simultaneously, saying that One Nation One Election will aid development process and social cohesion in the country.

The high-level committee said ONOP will deepen the foundations of democratic rubric and realise the aspirations of India, that is Bharat.

Noting that conducting separate elections cast a huge burden on the government, businesses, workers, courts, political parties, candidates contesting elections and civil society at large, the committee suggested the government to develop a legally tenable mechanism to restore the cycle of simultaneous elections.

It further recommended certain amendments, noting that while some of the Constitutional amendments would need the State’s ratification, certain amendments could be done by the Parliament without the States’ concurrence.

Members of the Committee were Senior Advocate Harish Salve, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission NK Singh, Former Lok Sabha Secretary General Dr Subhash C Kashyap and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari.

Union Minister of State for Law and Justice (independent charge) Arjun Ram Meghwal was the special invitee, while Union Legal Affairs Department Secretary Niten Chandra was the Secretary of the Committee.

The report suggested introduction of Article 324A to enable simultaneous elections in panchayats and municipalities along with the general elections of the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies, which would require ratification by States.

It recommended that a Constitution Amendment Bill be introduced in Parliament amending Article 83 (Duration of Houses of Parliament) and Article 172 (Duration of State Legislatures), adding that the Constitutional Amendment would not need ratification by the States.

It further recommended an amendment to Article 325 for enabling a single electoral roll and single elector’s photo identity card, which the Election Commission of India shall prepare in consultation with state election commissions, and the same will substitute any other electoral roll prepared by the Election Commission of India.

It said elections to municipalities and panchayats should be synchronized with the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies in such a way that polls to municipalities and panchayats were held within 100 days of the holding of elections of the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies.

As per the committee, the President of India, by way of a notification issued on the date of the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after a general election, may bring into force the provision of this Article. The date of the notification should be called the appointed date.

The tenure of all state legislative assemblies constituted by elections after the appointed date and before the expiry of the full term of the Lok Sabha should be only for the period up to the subsequent general elections to the Lok Sabha, it recommended.h

The committee said thereafter, all general elections to the Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies shall be held together simultaneously.

It recommended that in the event of a hung house, no-confidence motion, or any such event, fresh elections may be held to constitute the new house.

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