Concerns with Simultaneous Elections

June 13, 2018
1 year

What is the issue?

  • Union government plans to conduct simultaneous elections for both state and union assemblies.
  • But holding simultaneous polls in India is against the constitution’s basic structure.

What is the basic structure of constitution?

  • The Supreme Court has evolved a doctrine called basic structure of the constitution to preserve the ideals and philosophy of the original constitution.
  • This was created to put a check on the power of the parliament to pass laws and amend the constitution.
  • According to the doctrine, the Parliament cannot destroy or alter the basic structure of the doctrine.
  • Some of the matters germane to the basic structure include

          1. Provisions dealing with supremacy of the Constitution, The rule of law,

          2. The principle of separation of powers, Judicial review,

          3. Secularism, the sovereign, democratic and republican structure of the Constitution,

          4. Freedom and dignity of the individual, unity and integrity of the nation,

          5. The principle of equality, The essence of other fundamental rights in Part III,

          6. The concepts of social and economic justice, The commitment to build a welfare     state,

          7. The balance between fundamental rights and directive principles,

          8. The parliamentary system of government,

      9. The principle of free and fair elections, Independence of the judiciary, Effective access to justice,

         10. Legislation seeking to nullify the awards made in exercise of the judicial power of the state by arbitration tribunals constituted under an Act.

What are the concerns with simultaneous elections?

  • Even though it is a fact that frequent elections impose a burden on human resources and impede the development process due to the promulgation of Model Code of Conduct.
  • It is necessary to keep in mind that simultaneous elections is a purely reformist and an unconstitutional measure.
  • There is a misconception that that an amendment to the Representation of People’s Act 1951 is all that is needed for holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies.
  • But amending the RPA 1951 is challenging as it comes under the basic structure of the constitution.
  • Apart from the basic structure, the federal structure of the polity which itself a part of the basic structure will collapse if an amendment to the Representation of People’s Act is approved by Parliament.


Source: The Indian Express


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