The Indian Law Commision is set to present a report suggesting simultaneous elections in the country. According to the Deccan Era, the Commision is planning to set tentative dates for simultaneous elections in 2024 and 2029.
The report by the 22nd Law Commission, which will be submitted to the Law Ministry, will be one of three; the other two will be on the minimum age of consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and a recommendation for legislation to allow for online filing of First Information Reports.
The Deccan Era claimed that the Commission opposed reducing the age of consent for kids.
The Commission’s report is set to be submitted just days after the government formed a high-level committee led by former President Ram Nath Kovind to “examine and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections” to Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats, citing “national interest.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, former Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Chairman of the Fifteenth Finance Commision N K Singh, former Secretary-General of Lok Sabha Subhash C Kashyap, and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari attended the panel’s first meeting on September 23.
The swirling debate
Holding simultaneous elections is an issue that Law Commissions and Parliamentary committees have looked into in the past. The Congress and several Opposition parties have rejected the idea, calling it an attack on federalism.
The group resolved to allow the Law Commision and political parties to give suggestions on the subject, according to a government statement.
In 2018, the 21st Law Commission, led by Justice B S Chauhan (retired), proposed the ‘One Nation, One Election’ concept in a draught report.
notwithstanding “the complexity of the issues involved,” the Commission had stated that it was “desirable to have further discussions and examination on the matter, involving all the stakeholders, once again, before making final recommendations to the Government.”
The Commission’s tenure expired before a final recommendation was issued.
The 22nd Law Commision was established in February 2020 for a three-year term, however its chairwoman, former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, was appointed in November 2022.
When the Commission’s term was supposed to expire in February of this year, the government extended it until August 31, 2024.