Kovind panel report: 3 ex-HC chief justices, 1 state EC opposed simultaneous polls

32 parties support 'one nation, one election' proposal, while 15 oppose: Report
32 parties support 'one nation, one election' proposal, while 15 oppose: Report
32 parties support 'one nation, one election' proposal, while 15 oppose: Report

New Delhi | Three former High Court chief justices and one former state election commissioner were among those who objected to the idea of 'one nation, one election' during the consultations by a high-level committee headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind.

The panel submitted its report to President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday, recommending simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state assemblies as the first step followed by synchronised local body polls within 100 days.

According to the report, all four former Supreme Court chief justices -- Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justice UU Lalit -- the panel consulted provided written responses, all of which were in favour of holding simultaneous elections.

Among the former chief justices of major HCs, nine supported simultaneous elections, highlighting their potential benefits while three raised concerns or objections. Former Delhi High Court chief justice Ajit Prakash Shah opposed the concept of simultaneous elections, noting it may curb democratic expression along with concerns about distorted voting patterns and state-level political alterations.

"Additionally, he said that simultaneous elections hinder political accountability, as fixed terms offer representatives unwarranted stability without performance scrutiny, challenging democratic principles," the report noted.

Former Calcutta High chief justice Girish Chandra Gupta opposed simultaneous pols, saying the idea is not conducive to the principles of democracy.

"Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Former Chief Justice, Madras High Court opposed simultaneous elections due to concerns that it would undermine India's federal structure and be prejudicial to regional issues.

"He cited empirical data showing frequent midterm state elections, emphasising the importance of allowing people to exercise their choices. He suggested state funding of elections as a more effective reform to tackle corruption and inefficiency," the report said.

All four former chief election commissioners, who were consulted by the panel, favoured simultaneous elections.

Amongst present and former state election commissioners consulted by the panel, seven endorsed the idea while Tamil Nadu Election Commissioner V Palanikumar, expressed concerns.

"One primary concern emphasised was the pervasive dominance of national issues over local considerations during elections. The Commissioner expressed apprehension that this trend could potentially dilute the focus on region-specific challenges and diminish the efficacy of local governance," the report noted.

"Furthermore, the Commissioner highlighted the acute issue of a shortage in electoral manpower, emphasising the imperative of bolstering staff to ensure the seamless and efficient execution of elections," it added

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