A PIL has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Centre and the Election Commission of India to ascertain the feasibility of conducting elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies simultaneously in order to save money and manpower and control election paralysis. The plea stated that there are many advantages to holding the Lok Sabha, Assembly, Panchayat and Municipal elections together. It would reduce the time and cost involved in conducting elections in terms of the use of paramilitary forces, government staff on election duty and the Election Commission staff organising booths, electronic voting machines and voter slips etc.
The plea further seeks the court to direct the Centre and the EC to ascertain the feasibility of conducting elections on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays in order to save valuable time for the schools, colleges, universities, service industries and manufacturing organisations. The petitioner, practicing advocate of the Supreme Court and BJP leader, Ashwini Kumar, has also sought issuance of direction to the Centre and the EC to take apposite steps to implement the recommendations proposed by the Law Commission of India in its Report No-170, which stated, “We must go back to the situation where the elections to Lok Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies are held at once.”
The decision to conduct all elections together would save money as the cost of campaigning for parties would be less, the plea says. The imposition of the Model Code of Conduct delays the implementation of central and state government projects and welfare schemes and takes away time and effort from governance issues, it stated further.
The need for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, Assemblies, panchayats and Municipal bodies has been discussed and debated for a long time, added the plea. “As elections have become a big budget affair and expensive, the Law Commission of India in its 170th Report on Reform of Electoral Laws (1999) has suggested simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies for the sake of stability in governance. But the Centre and ECI did not take appropriate steps,” the plea read.
The plea suggested that the elections to Assemblies, whose terms would expire in 2023 and 2024, be bunched up together along with the 2024. Lok Sabha elections by curtailing or extending the tenures. If consensus is arrived at among political parties, the Assembly elections in 16 states Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Telangana, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand — can be held along with the 2024 General elections, the plea proposed.