Rama Krishna Sangem
Narendra Modi government at the Centre on September 2, Saturday notified an eight-member high-level committee to examine and make recommendations at the earliest on the issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities and panchayats in the country. The committee, however, it given no specific time frame to submit its report. It was asked to complete its job only “at the earliest”. The committee will be headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind and will have Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Finance Commission chairman N K Singh as members.
The panel, which will commence functioning immediately and make recommendations at the earliest, will also have former Lok Sabha Secrertary General Subhash C Kashyap, senior advocate Harish Salve and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Sanjay Kothari as members. Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will attend the meetings of the committee as a special invitee, while Legal Affairs Secretary Niten Chandra will be secretary to the panel.
Changes to the Constitution & laws
The committee will examine and recommend specific amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act and any other laws and rules which would require amendments for the purpose of holding simultaneous elections. It will also examine and recommend, if the amendments to the Constitution would require ratification by the States. The notification comes ahead of special parliament session from September 18-22.
The committee will also analyse and recommend possible solutions to scenarios such as hung House, adoption of no-confidence motion, or defection or any such other event in case of simultaneous elections. The committee will hear and entertain all persons, representations and communications which in its opinion can facilitate its work and enable it to finalise its recommendations.