Simultaneous polls against federalism: Yechury to Law Commission

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New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) Terming the idea of holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies as “inherently anti-democratic”, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury in a letter to the Law Commission on Wednesday said it “negates the principles of federalism which is a fundamental feature of Indias Constitution”.

Yechruy also turned down the Law Commission’s invitation for a personal discussion on the matter.

“I am writing to you in response to your letter of June 14, 2018 where you have sought the opinion of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on the issue of holding simultaneous elections. The basic objection to the concept is that it is fundamentally anti-democratic and strikes at the root of the parliamentary democratic system as ordained in the Constitution,” Yechury said in his letter.

He said the process would entail major amendments to the Indian Constitution which would run “against both the letter and spirit” of the Constitution.

“There is no fixity of tenure enshrined in the Constitution either for the Lok Sabha or for the state legislatures. Both Article 83 (2) and Article 172 (1) specify that the term of the Lok Sabha and the legislative assembly will be for five years ‘unless sooner dissolved’. Any attempt to prolong the life of the Lok Sabha or legislature will be not only unconstitutional but anti-democratic,” the letter read.

Yechury said that one of the suggestions made by a discussion paper released by the Niti Aayog is that if the dissolution of the Lok Sabha cannot be avoided and the remainder of the term of the Lok Sabha is not long, then a provision can be made for the President to carry out the administration of the country, on the aid and advice of a Council of Ministers to be appointed by him/her till the next House is constituted.

“This outrageous proposal would make the President head the executive. This is bringing an executive Presidency through the back door,” Yechury said.

The other suggestion is that if, at the time of the dissolution of the House, the remaining period is long, then fresh elections would be held and the term of the House would be only for the rest of the remaining period, that is, if the dissolution of the House takes place, say after two years of its term, then the subsequent election will be held for a three-year term.

Yechury pointed out that in this way there will be more frequent Lok Sabha elections, which will defeat the purpose, for which simultaneous elections are being advocated.

He said both the reduction of the tenure of an assembly or its extension will be an “assault” on the rights of the states and circumscribe the rights of citizens to elect their legislators.

“The CPI-M is, therefore, totally opposed to any artificial attempt to bring about simultaneous elections which can only be done by trampling upon the existing Constitutional scheme of parliamentary democracy,” he said.

Thanking the Law Commission for its invitation for a personal interaction, Yechury said that his letter was self-explanatory and appearing for a personal interaction “may not be necessary”.



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