NEW DELHI: The Election Commission, in its meeting with law commission on Wednesday to discuss proposed simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, sought to correct the perception that the model code of conduct enforced through the poll period was an impediment to governance.
Elaborating on the deliberations, a senior commission official told TOI that the law commission had asked for EC’s take on the contention that model code of conduct holds up government work and projects. The commission, which was represented by CEC O P Rawat and election commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa, were quick to clarify that model code only restrained ministers and the party in power from announcing new schemes and policy decisions, since this could disturb the level playing field by giving the ruling party an advantage over their rivals.
“Law commission officials were told that MCC does not interfere in any way with ongoing schemes and projects. Besides, where emergency policy decisions need to be taken, prior clearance from EC is sought and given promptly,” said an officer.
The law commission earlier approved a “Draft working paper – Simultaneous Elections – Constitution and Legal Perspectives”, and shared it with the law ministry. The law panel is currently holding consultation with all stakeholders, including political parties, on the issue of alignment of parliamentary and state polls. Its meeting with EC on Thursday was part of this exercise.
EC had, in views expressed earlier before a parliamentary standing committee, said simultaneous polls were desirable but would need a set of amendments to the Constitution and election laws. Also, additional EVMs would be needed to hold Lok Sabha and assembly polls together across the country