What is 'One Nation One Election'?
At present in India, state assembly and country's Lok Sabha elections are held at different times. One Nation One Election means that Lok Sabha and Assembly elections should be held simultaneously in the entire country. That is, voters will cast their votes on the same day, at the same time or in a phased manner to elect members of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies. After independence, the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were held simultaneously in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967. , but several assemblies were dissolved prematurely in 1968 and 1969. After that the Lok Sabha was also dissolved in 1970. Because of this, the tradition of one country, one election was broken.
The issue of holding simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies has been debated for a long time. Prime Minister Modi has also supported this idea and taken it forward. Let us tell you that this issue has been considered by the Election Commission, NITI Aayog, Law Commission and Constitution Review Commission. Recently, the Law Commission had organized a three-day conference to gather the opinions of various political parties, regional parties and administrative officials on the issue of holding simultaneous elections in the country. In this conference, some political parties agreed with this idea, while most of the political parties opposed it. He says that this idea is against the democratic process. Obviously, unless there is a consensus on this idea, it will not be possible to implement it.
Through this article we will try to find answers to many questions, like- Why does one country need one election? What is its background? What are the arguments in favor of reintroducing this process in the country? What are its limitations? What is the way forward in this? So let us try to find answers to all these questions one by one.
In December 2015, the Law Commission presented a report on One Nation-One Election. It was told that if Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are held simultaneously in the country, then crores of rupees can be saved. Apart from this, due to non-implementation of election code of conduct repeatedly, development work will also not be affected. Keeping these things in mind, it was recommended in 2015 that simultaneous elections should be held in the country.
Parliamentary Standing Committee Report (2015)
In the year 2015, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice was formed under the chairmanship of Dr. E.M.Sudarshan Natchiappan. This committee presented its report on 'Feasibility of holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha (Lok Sabha) and State Legislative Assemblies' on December 17, 2015. The committee had said that the following are the obstacles to holding simultaneous elections:
(i) The huge expenditure currently incurred in conducting separate elections;
(ii) Due to the implementation of Model Code of Conduct during elections, one may have to face a kind of paralyzed system in the implementation of policies.
(iii) Impact on delivery of essential services
(iv) The burden on manpower deployed during elections will increase
Law Commission Draft Report (2018)
Law Commission of India which was headed by Justice BS Chauhan. This commission released its draft report on simultaneous elections on August 30, 2018. The report simultaneously looked at legal and constitutional issues related to elections. It was said that under the current structure of the Constitution, simultaneous elections cannot be held. Simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies can be held through appropriate amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act 1951 and the rules of procedure of the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. The Commission had also suggested that at least 50% of the states should ratify the constitutional amendments. The Commission said that holding simultaneous elections would save public money, reduce the burden on security forces and administrative structures, and improve government policies. This will ensure quick implementation and ensure that the administrative machinery remains engaged in development activities rather than election campaigning.
Why is there a need for one country, one election?
Elections are an essential process in any vibrant democracy. Healthy and fair elections are the cornerstone of democracy. Conducting uninterrupted and fair elections in a huge country like India has always been a challenge. If we look at the elections held in the country, we find that every year elections are held in some state or the other. Due to this continuity of elections the country is always in election mode. This not only affects administrative and policy decisions but also puts a huge burden on the country's exchequer. To avoid all this, policy makers came up with the idea of holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
It is noteworthy that apart from these, Panchayat and Municipal elections are also held in the country, but these are not included in one country one election.
Let us tell you that One Country, One Election is an ideological initiative to hold simultaneous elections of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. There can be a never-ending debate on how right and wrong this would be for thecountry. But to bring this idea to the ground, it is important to know its characteristics.
Constitution will have to be amended
In 1999, the Law Commission had also supported it in one of its reports. In August 2018, the Law Commission's report on one country, one election was also released. The Law Commission report had suggested that elections could be conducted in two phases in the country. The Law Commission had said that holding simultaneous elections would require at least five constitutional recommendations. Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal had told in Parliament that the Constitution will have to be amended to hold simultaneous elections across the country. For this, amendments were mentioned in Articles 83, 85, 172, 174 and 356 of the Constitution.
what is its background
Elections have been held simultaneously before also
Until 1967, simultaneous elections for state assemblies and the Lok Sabha were common in India. After independence, Lok Sabha and Assembly elections have been held simultaneously in the years 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967. After the year 1967, Lok Sabha and Assemblies were dissolved several times at different times, due to which this sequence was broken. Some Assemblies were dissolved prematurely in 1968 and 1969 and the Lok Sabha in 1970. A decade later, in 1983, the Election Commission proposed holding simultaneous elections. However, the commission said in its annual report that the then government had decided against it. The Law Commission report of 1999 also emphasized on holding simultaneous elections. Recently Bharatiya Janata Party emphasized. The BJP had stated in its election manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that it would try to develop a way of holding simultaneous elections to ensure stability for state governments.
One country, one election is not a unique experiment, because it has happened in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, when elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were held simultaneously. This sequence was broken when the Legislative Assemblies of some states were dissolved prematurely for various reasons in 1968–69. Let us tell you that in 1971 the Lok Sabha elections were also held ahead of time. Obviously when elections like this have been conducted before then what is the problem in conducting them now.
On one hand, some experts believe that now the population of the country has increased a lot, hence it is not possible to hold elections simultaneously, while on the other hand, some analysts say that if the population of the country has increased, then there will be a shortage of technology and other resources. There has also been development. Therefore the possibility of one country one election cannot be ruled out. But all this does not prove its significance, for this we will have to analyze the arguments given in its favor and against.
Arguments given in support of one country one election
It is said in favor of one country, one election that it is a development-oriented idea. Obviously, due to frequent elections, the Model Code of Conduct has to be implemented again and again in the country. Due to this, the government is unable to take necessary policy decisions and faces problems in implementing various schemes. Due to this development work gets affected. Let us tell you that the Model Code of Conduct or Model Code of Conduct has been created to maintain the fairness of elections.
Under this, announcement of any project, launch of new schemes or financial approval and appointment process by the ruling party is prohibited after the election notification is issued by the Election Commission. The underlying objective behind this is that the ruling party does not get additional advantage in the elections. Therefore, if elections for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies are held in the country at one go, then the Model Code of Conduct will remain in force for some time, and after that the development works can be completed smoothly.
The second argument in favor of one country, one election is that it will reduce the huge expenditure on repeated elections. It is noteworthy that due to frequent elections, there is additional financial burden on the government treasury. The continuous increase in expenditure on elections is proof that it is not good for the economic health of the country.
The third argument given in favor of one country, one election is that it will help in curbing black money and corruption. It is not hidden from anyone that black money is used openly by political parties and candidates during elections. Although a limit has been set on the expenditure incurred by candidates in elections in the country, no limit has been set on the expenditure incurred by political parties. Some analysts believe that frequent elections provide an opportunity to politicians and parties to disrupt social harmony, which creates situations of unnecessary tension. Such problems can be avoided by holding simultaneous elections.
The fourth argument in favor of this is that by holding elections simultaneously, there will be no need to put government employees and security forces on election duty again and again. This will save their time and they will also be able to perform their duties properly. Let us tell you that for conducting elections here, services of teachers and government employees are taken, due to which their work gets affected. Not only this, a large number of police and security forces are deployed to conduct uninterrupted elections. Apart from this, common people's life is also affected due to frequent elections.
Why oppose one country one election?
Analysts against One Country One Election believe that the Constitution has provided us with a parliamentary model under which the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies are elected for five years, but our Constitution is silent on the issue of holding simultaneous elections. There are many provisions in the Constitution which appear to be completely contrary to this idea. For example, under Article 2, Parliament can include a new state in the Indian Union and under Article 3, Parliament can create a new state, where separate elections may have to be held.
Similarly, according to Article 85(2)(b), the President can dissolve the Lok Sabha and according to Article 174(2)(b), the Governor can dissolve the Legislative Assembly even before five years. Under Article 352, the tenure of the Lok Sabha can be extended by imposing national emergency in the event of war, external aggression or armed rebellion. Similarly, under Article 356, President's rule can be imposed in the states and in such a situation, the possibility of re-election increases due to an unexpected reversal in the political equation of the concerned state. All these circumstances are completely contrary to one country one election.
The second argument given against one country, one election is that this idea would be contrary to the federal structure of the country and would be a fatal step for parliamentary democracy. If elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are held simultaneously, the tenure of some assemblies will be increased or reduced against their wishes, which may affect the autonomy of the states. The federal structure of India is inspired by the parliamentary system of governance and the frequency of elections in the parliamentary system of governance is an irrefutable fact.
The third argument against one country, one election is that if elections for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are held simultaneously, then there is a greater possibility that regional issues may become secondary to national issues or, on the contrary, national issues may lose their existence in front of regional issues. Give. In fact, the nature and issues of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are completely different. While Lok Sabha elections are held to form the national government, Assembly elections are held to form the state government. Therefore, while issues of national importance are given prominence in the Lok Sabha, issues of regional importance remain at the forefront in the Assembly elections.
The fourth argument against this is that democracy is called the rule of the people. Being a parliamentary system in the country, elections are held at different times and the public representatives have to remain continuously accountable to the public. Apart from this, no party or leader can act autocratically after winning an election because it has to face some election at short intervals. Analysts believe that if both the elections are held simultaneously, the chances of this happening will increase.
The fifth argument given against One Country One Election is that India is the second largest country in the world in terms of population. Therefore, in the absence of large population and infrastructure, it does not seem logical to hold elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies simultaneously.
There is no major flaw in the concept of one country, one election, but the way political parties are opposing it, it seems that it is not possible to implement it in the near future. There is no doubt that India, the world's largest democracy, seems to be surrounded by electoral maze all the time.
There is a need to launch a comprehensive electoral reform campaign to free the country from this maze of elections. This includes improving the Representation of the People Act, curbing black money, stopping increasing criminalization in politics, creating political awareness among the people so that inclusive democracy can be established.
If 'one country one tax' i.e. GST can be implemented in the country then why can't there be one country one election? Now the time has come that all political parties should debate this issue with an open mind so that it can be implemented.
Why has former President Ramnath Kovind been made the chairman of the One Nation One Election committee?
Ramnath Kovind was born on 1 October 1945 in Paraunkh village of Derapur tehsil of Kanpur. In 1977, he became the personal secretary of the then PM Morarji Desai.
In 1978, Kovind was appointed as a lawyer in the Supreme Court. Between 1980 and 1993, he also served on the Centre's Standing Council in the Supreme Court. Kovind was a Rajya Sabha member from 1994 to 2000 and then from 2000 to 2006. Appointed Governor of Bihar in August 2015.
Ramnath Kovind has been the Dalit face of BJP. He has been the President of Dalit BJP Morcha. Has been the President of All India Koli Samaj. Kovind has been the national spokesperson of BJP, but he remained so far away from the limelight that he never appeared on TV while being the spokesperson. Ramnath Kovind was elected President of India on 25 July 2017 and completed a tenure of 5 years.
Ramnath Kovind's profile shows that he has understanding of both politics and law. Apart from this, his coordination with Modi government is good. Even other opposition parties will not be able to openly oppose his appointment in the One Nation One Election Committee because he has been a Dalit face and the President of the country.
Ramnath Kovind has agreed to 'One Nation One Election' on many occasions. In a 2018 parliamentary speech, he had said, 'Frequent elections not only put a heavy burden on human resources, but also hinder the development process due to the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct.'
What will be the process to implement One Nation One Election in the country?
The Law Commission had issued a public notice in April 2018 detailing the amendments in this regard. According to the Law Commission, the proposal of One Nation One Election will also affect Article 328 of the Constitution, for which approval of maximum states may have to be taken.
According to Article 368(2) of the Constitution, such an amendment requires the approval of a minimum of 50% of the states, but under 'One Country, One Election', the rights and jurisdiction of the Legislative Assembly of each state may be affected. In this case, approval may be required from the Legislative Assemblies of all the states. After this, amendments will have to be made in many other laws including the Representation of the People Act.
On August 30, 2018, the Law Commission headed by Justice BS Chauhan also said that One Nation One Election cannot be conducted in the country under the current structure of the Constitution. For this, changes will be required in the Representation of the People Act 1951 of the Constitution. Apart from this, there will be a need to amend the rules made for the functioning of Lok Sabha and Assemblies.
Countries where simultaneous elections are held:
In South Africa, elections for the national and provincial assemblies are held every five years, and municipal elections are held every two years.
In Sweden, elections for the national legislature (Riksdag) and provincial legislature/county councils (Landsting) and local bodies/municipal assemblies (Kommunfullmaktige) are held every four years on a fixed date, i.e. the second Sunday of September, but in most other large democracies they are held simultaneously. There is no such system of elections.
In Britain, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, 2011 was passed to provide a sense of stability and predictability to the British Parliament and its tenure. It provided that the first election would be held on May 7, 2015, and every fifth year thereafter on the first Thursday of May.
Article 67 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany proposes a constructive vote of no confidence (dismissing the incumbent and electing a successor).
Elections are held at different places every few months and this hampers development work. Therefore, to prevent the impact of the Model Code of Conduct on development work every few months, it is necessary to have an in-depth study and discussion on this idea. There should be a consensus on whether the country needs one nation, one election or not. All political parties should at least cooperate in discussing this issue, once the controversy starts, public opinion can be taken into account. India being a mature democracy can follow the outcome of these discussions.
One Country OneElection' (OCOE) Issue 2023