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Does Model Code of Conduct Influence Govt Work? Law Panel Asks EC on Simultaneous Polls

Though both bodies had a list of 20 questions to deliberate upon, the Justice Chauhan-led panel had primarily focussed on issues that arise and affect (if at all) the functioning of governments when the EC’s model code of conduct is in force.

Niraj Kumar, Debayan Roy

Updated:May 16, 2018, 9:31 PM IST
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Does Model Code of Conduct Influence Govt Work? Law Panel Asks EC on Simultaneous Polls
Representative image. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: In a meeting that lasted over one-and-a-half hours, the Justice BS Chauhan-led law panel has asked the election commission to showcase past instances of the model code of conduct influencing any functioning of either state or central government.

Both bodies had met on Wednesday to deliberate and iron out issues relating to the feasibility of simultaneous polls in the country.

The Election Commission of India was represented by the Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat and two other election commissioners, whereas the law commission was headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice BS Chauhan and three other members of the commission.

Though both bodies had a list of 20 questions to deliberate upon, the Justice Chauhan-led panel primarily focussed on issues that arise and affect (if at all) the functioning of governments when the EC’s model code of conduct is in force.

According to sources in the EC, the law commission had received quite a few complaints regarding issues faced when the code of conduct is in force, hence the extra focus.

News18 has also learnt that EC has informed the law commission that there is no effect on schemes already in place but no new schemes can be introduced when model code of conduct is in place.

The law panel wanted to ascertain how many such instances were reported during the last four elections by central or state governments and the number of times it was settled.

The total number of questions, to be deliberated upon in this meeting, were divided into two parts — first on Constitutional issues and second on legal/social-political-economic issues.

On Constitutional issues, the Law Commission sought to know whether the "benefits of simultaneous elections" would also inevitably be viewed as "tinkering with the basic structure of the Constitution" as it would invite certain amendments to portions of the Constitution.

Further, the law panel asked if a possible President's rule in states with a dissolved Assembly would see an impact on its democratic functioning.

A few weeks ago, the Law Commission had proposed holding simultaneous state, general elections and sought public opinion on its recommendations.

After a full member meeting at the Law Commission, Chairman Justice BS Chauhan had released a list of recommendations and a draft prepared by the commission on April 17.

In its latest set of questions for the poll body, the law panel has also listed a set of Articles that might require amendments in order to hold simultaneous elections in the states and Centre.
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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