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Delhi HC asks EC to decide representation on plea seeking Lok Sabha, Assembly polls simultaneously

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Election Commission (EC) to decide the representation made by a petitioner seeking direction to ascertain the feasibility of conducting elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies simultaneously in order to save money and manpower and control election paralysis.
The bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad on Monday said, "We know our limitation, the prayer sought in the petition completely falls under the Election Commission domain. We are not lawmakers." The Court asked Election Commission to decide the representation made by the petitioner before it.
Appearing for Election Commission, Advocate Siddhant Kumar opposed the petition and stated that it is the Parliament, which is to look into and decide the matter. The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a constitutional body and established to conduct and regulate elections in the country, the EC counsel said.
The petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader stated before the court 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 using paramilitary forces, government staff on election duty and the Election Commission staff organising booths, electronic voting machines and voter slips etc, Upadhyay said.
The plea further sought 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 has also sought the 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 said.
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. (ANI)

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