After getting a bill passed in the Parliament for linking Aadhar Cards with Voter ID Cards, the Central government is reportedly working for a common electoral roll for Parliament, Assembly, and local body elections. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public, Grievances, Law and Justice headed by BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday held a scheduled meeting on the ‘Status of Common Electoral Roll for conducting elections in the country'. It should be recalled that the issue of the common electoral roll was first discussed in 2002 when Justice M N Venkatachaliah, who headed the National Commission to review the working of the Constitution, recommended a common electoral roll for elections to Panchayati raj institutions, state assembly, and Parliament.
He recommended a common electoral roll for elections to Panchayati raj institutions, state assembly, and Parliament.
Key Highlights of the common electoral roll:
1. The representatives of the Election Commission and Secretary, Legislative Department Reeta Vasishta have given their presentation on the status of the common electoral roll to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. It is learned that the government informed the Committee that it plans to hold a meeting with state election commissioners soon to try and convince them to adopt a common electoral roll, Indian Express reported. The government, as of now, is not in favor of amending the law but wants to persuade the state to adopt a common electoral roll, according to the report.
2. The report further says that the proposal for a common electoral roll was opposed by the opposition members in the committee – TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Congress’s Deepender Hooda, and DMK’s P Wilson – who asserted that it was an encroachment into the rights of the states. They further argued that it interfered in the rights of the State Election Commission under the Constitution.
3. Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey joined an online “interaction” called by the Prime Minister’s Office on November 16 despite reservations. The interaction was on the issue of a common electoral role.
5. In 2007, Administrative Reforms Commission in its sixth report had also mentioned that local government laws should provide for the adoption of assembly electoral rolls for the local government without any revision of names by the State Election Commissions.
6. In 2015, the Law Commission of India had also favored the introduction of a common electoral roll.