ONE NATION ONE ELECTION: DOES THE NOTION LEAD US TO A WORST SITUATION FROM A BAD ONE?
Author: Ayushi Sharma, IV year of B.B.A., LL.B. from Career Point University, Kota (Raj.)
Elections have been playing a crucial role in Indian democracy, as this manifests an opportunity for the people to elect their leaders that can be understood by the words of Constitution of India that are, “we the people, by the people, for the people”.
Currently, in our Indian regime election held in 3 tiers central, state and local level along with a separate voter list for each tier, and this whole conducted under a model code of conduct formulated by the election commission of India during which all development occurring at the particular juncture got ceased, along with this, it has been found that a massive amount of expenses is incurred as well as a lot of security forces get deployed in conducting the free, fair and safe frequent election, for instance, “in 2019 Lok Sabha election around Rs. 55,000-60,000 crore was spent which is twice the amount incurred in 2014 Lok Sabha election”[i]and “over 20 lakh security personnel effectively deployed”[ii] Therefore, this practice of continued elections affect all three factors time, money and muscle power of our country.
To curb these issues our Government of India is mooting to adopt “one nation one election” which means a simultaneous election for every 5 years by synchronizing the house of the people elected and state legislative assembly ones. Although this notion is not new in India, after independence, elections held in the same way for 4-5 times but the practice got discontinued during 1968-69 as some legislative assembly got dissolved. But this matter has always been in news After that in 1983 annual report of the Election Commission made a strong pitch regarding the simultaneous election and this matter has the law commission of 2018 made a draft for it. Ergo, a question pops up in the mind, whether the simultaneous election is the best approach for all these problems?
CONSEQUENCES OF SIMULTANEOUS ELECTION
· Out-turn of the Basic Structure of the constitution of India
In kesavanandabharti’s case 1973[iii] it was held that any “amendment affecting the basic structure of combination will be void.” And the practice of simultaneous election can affect the BASIC STRUCTURE: democracy and federalism. As if any legislative assembly losses confidence in any of the parliamentary houses, then the option left in the hands off the Government is to Either they go for state emergency that is ARTICLE 365, which will ruin the essence of state government’s power that means effect the federalism or they allow the state government in minority to run which affect democracy as people will be governed by the government in which they have no confidence. In both cases, there is a grave violation of democracy and federalism. And the involvement of the Centre will also affect the Parliamentary system of our country and might lead to presidential form.
· The dominance of the Centre’s Ideology
As we all know, state and central issue are far different from each other and if we go by this notion then this might open on to complexities in the issues and as it is obvious that national issues always encroach upon and dominate the regional ones, therefore, this might up-shot the point of view of the voters, as the opportunity of electing our leaders also entails a responsibility for the citizens to opt for the best leader in all dimensions. According to the study of IDFC Institute, there are 77 percent chances that people will vote for the same party in the state as well as Centre irrespective of issues, as party ruling at Centre has much more resources and will dominate the regional parties, thus form the crux of government.
· Availability of polling officers
As it is well known that for conducting free, fair and safe election involvement an enormous amount of polling officers is undeniable. So, here is a question drops in that, do we have enough amount of security forces and other resources like the EVMs because conducting all election at once, will increase the demand but the supply would remain same, and according to the Times of India data, over 20 lakh personnel got deployed only in 2019 Lok Sabha election And on that estimation if the simultaneous election were held then there would be a need of more than 20 lakh security personnel at one juncture and if we lack in it then this may lead to a compromise for free, fair and safe election and may lead to anti-social movements.
· Accountability of Government
Conducting elections more than once in 5 years enhances the accountability of politicians towards citizens and keeps them on their toes and if they have to face election once in 5 years then this will reduce the only method of accountability. It is seen that during elections people below the poverty line got food and many other resources. As quoted by peggy noonan[iv] – “our political leaders will know our priorities only if we tell them again and again by showing upon polls.”
As we know, everything which glitters is not gold similarly, an idea of simultaneous election might look great on the outside but may lead to disastrous consequences above mentioned as comes up with several challenges like the amendment to Constitutional provisions - Article 83 and 172; which determines the duration of the house of the people and state legislative assemblies. Article 85(1) and 174(1); which procure session, prorogation and dissolution of parliament and state assemblies. Article 243U deals with the election in municipality and provisions of part XV which deals with elections along with this amendment in Representation of the People Act, 1951 deals with notification for general elections under section 14 and 15 and bye-election under part IX. While on the other side frequent elections are hindering the development of our country and this massive amount of expenses is also a disastrous factor.
So, in my opinion, our country needs a better alternative with proper implementation as submitted in the draft of Law Commission report of 2018, we can also look upon one nation two elections which will reduce the issue of availability of resources at once, and might curb the problem of expenses and If the government genuinely want to curb this issue of cost there are other alternatives as well-
· By reducing the phase of election (duration of election)
· By setting a cost cap as a huge amount of money is spent by political parties.
Now, it is in the hands of the government to think whether the cost is the only important factor for our country’s development or the democracy of our country.
Ayushi Sharma is an enthusiastic, committed the fourth year BBA-LL.B. undergraduate student with a broad interest in law and always keen to perform any research-related work, whether it is an article writing or blog writing or any other research paper or any competition like moot court competition.