What did the Panel Recommend on One Nation, One Election?

15 Mar 2024  Read 2705 Views

India is always in Election Mode. Last year, elections took place in 6 states, and this year, 6 more states are having elections along with the Lok Sabha Election!

This puts a burden on the government, businesses, workers, courts, candidates, and society as a whole. Just to conduct the Lok Sabha Election, more than 50 lakh officials and police are needed, turning schools into polling booths - and the same process repeats on a smaller scale for state elections. To reduce this burden, a High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election submitted a detailed report of over 15,600 pages to the President on 14 March 2024.

But why did the High-Level Committee recommend One Nation, One Election? What are the reasons behind this recommendation, and how do they plan to implement it? You'll find answers to these questions in this blog. Let's get started!

What is this High-Level Committee?

About: The HLC, also called the Kovind panel because its chairman was former President Ram Nath Kovind, was formed in September 2023 to look into the idea of having all elections at the same time in the country and suggest what should be done.

Members: Its members included Home Minister Amit Shah, former Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C Kashyap, former chairman of the 15th Finance Commission N K Singh, Senior Advocate Harish Salve, and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari.

Meetings: The Committee had 65 meetings at Jodhpur Officer's Hostel in New Delhi. Their last meeting was on 10 March 2024. During these meetings, the committee discussed various reports and studies and talked to many people involved.

What is One Nation, One Election?

Before starting with the details of Committe's report, first understand One Nation, One Election.

As the name suggests, 'One Nation, One Election' also known as Simultaneous Elections, refers to conducting elections for the Lok Sabha, all state Legislative Assemblies, and urban and rural local bodies (municipalities and panchayats) all together at the same time.

Right now, these elections are held separately from each other, following timelines dictated by the terms of specific individual elected bodies.

Were Simultaneous Elections held in India earlier?

Yes, in 1957, the central government, state governments, political parties, and the Election Commission of India worked together to hold simultaneous elections in seven states: Bihar, Bombay, Madras, Mysore, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Why One Nation, One Election? (As per the Mr. Kovind's Panel)

  1. Reduce Financial Burden:

When elections happen too often, it costs the government more money. If we also count the money political parties spend, the total costs become even higher.

  1. Higher Economic Growth and Stability:

Elections held at different times create confusion and make things unstable. This can mess up supply chains, business investments and economic growth.

  1. Ease for Citizens:

When elections are not synchronised, it makes it hard for the government to work smoothly. This difficulty can lead to problems for the people living in the country.

  1. Prevent Policy Paralysis:

When the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is used too much, decision-making is slow and stops development programs from moving forward.

What is MCC? MCC is a set of guidelines and rules that political parties, candidates, and government officials must follow during elections. For example, ministers are prohibited from making financial promises that could influence voters, are restricted from initiating new projects, and ad-hoc appointments in government and public undertakings are not allowed.

  1. Greater Voter Turnout:

Having elections at different times makes voters less motivated and makes it hard to get them to participate in voting.

  1. Reduce Burden on Courts:

Simultaneous Elections would reduce the number of election-related offences and disputes.

  1.  Avoidance of Duplication of Efforts:

Conducting elections simultaneously would help prevent repeating tasks and save time and energy for government officials, political workers, and security forces.

Read more about One Nation One Election here!

Recommendations of the High-Level Committee

(i) Amendment in the Constitution: The Constitution needs to be changed so that elections happen simultaneously in two steps.

1st- Elections will be held together for the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.

2nd- Elections for municipalities and panchayats will match with Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections. Local body elections should happen within 100 days of the national and state elections. 

(ii) Single Voter List and ID: The Constitution should be amended so that one electoral roll and electoral photo identity can be made for all levels of government elections. The Election Commission of India will work with State Election Commissions to do this. 

(iii) What Happens in Special Situations: If there's a situation where no party has a clear majority in the House or a no-confidence motion, new elections should be conducted to form a new Lok Sabha or state Assembly for the remaining term.

(iv) Planning for Elections: The committee suggests that the Election Commission of India should plan early with State Election Commissions for manpower, polling staff, security, and voting machines. This ensures that fair and free elections happen at all government levels.

Conclusion

The Committee did a lot of research and looked at all the complex legal, economic, and political issues related to Simultaneous Elections. They also checked how other countries like South Africa, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, and the Philippines handle Simultaneous Elections. The Committee thinks that because India is different in its politics, it's best to create a specific model for our country.

About the Author: Anirudh Nikhare | 29 Post(s)

Anirudh did his Bachelor's in Law and has practical experience in IPR, Contracts, and Corporate. He is your go-to legal content writer turning head-scratching legal topics into easy-to-understand gems of wisdom. Through his blog, he aims to empower readers with knowledge, making legal concepts digestible and applicable to everyday life.

Liked What You Just Read? Share this Post:

Finology Blog / Legal / What did the Panel Recommend on One Nation, One Election?

Wanna Share your Views on this? Comment here: