New Delhi, July 22: The issue of holding simultaneous parliamentary and Assembly polls has been referred to the Law Commission so that a practicable roadmap and framework can be worked out, the government informed Parliament on Friday.
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also cited a report of a parliamentary panel, which observed that frequent elections lead to “disruption” of normal public life and impact the functioning of essential services and that simultaneous polls would reduce the massive expenditure incurred to conduct separate elections every year.
The minister said in 2014-15, an amount of Rs 510 crore was released to various states and Union territories for elections. Similarly, Rs 1,490.16 crore were spent on elections in 2015-16, Rs 356.14 crore in 2016-17, Rs 1,199.85 crore in 2017-18, Rs 886.11 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 1,372.03 crore were released for the purpose in 2019-20, he added.
Rijiju said elections were held for 50 state legislative assemblies from 2014 to 2022. According to standing instructions, the entire expenditure on the conduct of elections to the Lok Sabha is to be borne by the Centre and the expenditure on the conduct of elections to the state legislatures is borne by the respective state governments when such polls are held independently.
In case the elections are held simultaneously, the expenditure is borne by the states concerned and the Centre on a 50:50 basis.
Rijiu said a parliamentary committee had examined the issue of simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies in consultation with various stakeholders, including the Election Commission (EC).
“The committee has given certain recommendations in this regard.... The matter now stands referred to the Law Commission for further examination to work out practicable roadmap and framework for simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state assemblies,” he said.