From panchayat elections to Lok Sabha polls, there should be a common electoral roll, a Parliamentary committee has recommended, saying it will help weed out duplicate voters and bring down cost of holding the democratic exercise.
“The Committee feels that a common electoral roll will reduce cost, time, and check electoral malpractices in the country.”
“The Committee, therefore, recommends that a common electoral roll be prepared in the country which can be used from panchayat level to Parliamentary elections by the State Election Commissions to weed out multiple electoral rolls to check corrupt practices during elections,” the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel said in its latest report.
The report on Demands for Grants (2016-17) of the Law Ministry tabled in Parliament on Friday said, as of now, the EC and State Election Commissions have separate electoral rolls.
“They carry out registration of voters and updating of electoral rolls separately. The numbers of voters in their electoral rolls usually vary,” it said.
While EC is entrusted with the task of holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, the State Election Commissions supervise elections to local bodies.
Interestingly, it was the Commission which had earlier raised the issue to have common electoral rolls.
In a letter written to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in November, 1999, the Election Commission had said that separate rolls prepared by the EC and State ECs “not only create confusion among the electors because their names may be present in one roll but absent in the other, or vice versa, but also result in duplication of effort and expenditure.”
The EC had said that in almost all the cases, the same machinery at the field level is entrusted the job of preparing and revising rolls for both types of elections.
“The electoral rolls for Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies are prepared and revised under the strict superintendence, direction and control of the Election Commission, with due care and caution and by incurring considerable expenditure,” the poll watchdog had told Vajpayee.
The EC had maintained that a single electoral roll “will be a huge national saving” and it will not pose any problems
to the electoral machinery on the field as it is the same at the ground level.
“This may need some minor amendments to the local laws of the states concerned, but will subserve great national interest of economy in government expenditure on elections,” the EC had said.