Introduction to “One Nation, One Election”: Constitutional and Legal Issues Related to This Policy


The One Nation One Election is a concept advocating for synchronizing the electoral cycles of different government levels in a country. It aims to create a more efficient and focused electoral system by aligning the schedules of parliamentary, state, and local elections. The Union Government formed a ‘High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election’ in September 2023, chaired by former President Ramnath Kovind. The committee has been in discussions with national and state-level political parties, gathering input from the public and jurists. However, concerns have been raised about the potential impact on India’s democratic framework and federal structure.[1]

This article explores the background, necessity, benefits, challenges, stakeholder criticism, and the future of the One Nation One Election.

What is One Nation One Election?

The concept of “One Nation-One Election” refers to the arrangement of the Indian electoral system so that the State Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabha elections are held on the same day. Under such a system, voters often cast their ballots for both the State Assembly and the Lok-Sabha on the same day and at the same time. Furthermore, this simultaneous election does not entail that state assemblies and the Lok Sabha must be held on the same day nationwide. Voting for the state assembly and Lok Sabha is done on the same day in a phased manner that mirrors the electorate’s long-standing custom in a particular seat.[2] Over the last several days, the national conversation around the idea of “One Nation—One Election” has gained more traction. What this term means is the question that therefore emerges. The idea of “One Nation-One Election” stipulates that elections for the Lok Sabha and State Legislatures must be held concurrently. The term “One Nation One Election” (ONOE) is a theory that supports conducting all national and subnational elections in a nation at the same time, usually within a certain date. Its goals include cutting expenses, streamlining the election process, and maybe raising voter turnout. It does, however, also bring up questions regarding practical difficulties, possible political scheming, and the effect on regional problems. One nation one election committee is a high level committee constituted by the government under the chairpersonship of Shri Ram Nath Kovind, former President of India.

Background on One Nation One Election

Elections for both the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha were held concurrently soon after independence. For the elections of 1952, 1957, 1962, and 1967, this was accurate. However, this was abandoned because, for a variety of reasons, certain state legislative assemblies were dissolved early in 1968–69.

At the moment, separate elections are held for the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. That is, when the legislature is dissolved or the five-year tenure of the existing administration expires. There is no guarantee that the periods of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies will coincide. For example, elections were held in Rajasthan at the end of 2018, but not in Tamil Nadu until 2021. [3]

An average year has between five and seven assembly elections. The electoral commission recommended creating a structure to allow for simultaneous elections for the state legislature and Lok Sabha because of the issues it causes.

Additionally, the Law Commission of 1999, led by Justice Reddy, suggested returning to simultaneous elections. The parliamentary standing committee’s 79th report from 2015 reaffirmed its support for simultaneous elections.[4]

Prime Minister Modi brought up the concept of simultaneous elections once more in 2016. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has since made a compelling case for holding simultaneous elections.[5]


History of Elections implementation in India

The greatest democratic nation in the world is not new to the idea of “simultaneous elections.” Prior to the Indian Constitution’s current election regulations being amended, this exercise was standard procedure in India. 1968, 1969, and 1970 saw the dissolution of legislative assemblies following the separately held elections for amendments. Rethinking the “One Nation-One Election” was suggested by the Electoral Commission in 1983. [6]Though it was stated in the Law Commission Report, the BJP’s introduction of it in its 2014 manifesto accelerated the process of reconsideration. They were the norm until 1967. Elections to state assemblies and the parliament were held in 1968 and 1969, and the Lok Sabha met separately in December 1970. Kerala broke this cycle by reorganizing elections in July 1969.[7] It occurred when the Communist EMS Namboodiripad administration was overthrown by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was then in office, using Article 356. Despite the lack of evidence to support this constitutional framework, Shri Narendra Modi put up the concept once more and requested that the NITI Aayog come up with some organic ways to lessen the effects and expedite the implementation process. As a result, in 2017, NITI Ayog created a working paper on the subject. The Law Commission’s working paper that followed made several suggestions and illustrated some positive aspects. The enactment of this bill would require the support of these suggestions. Despite receiving strong support from some political parties, the objections caused this concept to lose steam. [8]

Constitutional and Legal Challenges Related to One Nation One Election

Election reform—that is, holding simultaneous elections—may have a number of advantages, but achieving it would involve a number of legislative and constitutional changes.

  • It has been stated by the Law Commission that concurrent elections are inappropriate under the current constitutional structure. This calls for a number of changes to the state legislative assemblies’ and the Lok Sabha’s rules of procedure, as well as to the representation of the People Act of 1951 and the constitution.
  • A minimum of 50% of state legislative assemblies will need to accept constitutional modifications, according to the law commission.
  • This would necessitate a constitutional modification since the terms of these legislative assemblies must be either extended or shortened due to the random nature of the elections to multiple legislative assemblies.[9]
  • The tenure of the Lok Sabha, or state legislature, may be shortened if a no-confidence vote is approved. It will be necessary to make the necessary constitutional adjustments in order to replace the vote of no confidence with a constructive vote of no confidence, as suggested by the law commission. Only in this situation is it conceivable to overthrow the current administration if one cannot be replaced.[10]
  • There is also a chance of re-elections in the event of a hung legislature, which would alter the term and complicate concurrent elections. The Law Commission proposes amending the Constitution so that any new legislative assembly or Lok Sabha created in the middle of the term will only exist for the duration of the earlier session.

There are a number of additional difficulties with the Indian local government elections:

  • Since these elections are state-related, national control over them is not possible.
  • The state election commission now oversees these elections; a further constitutional amendment will be necessary to transfer the administration of these elections to a simultaneous body. [11]

An additional obstacle to the adoption of simultaneous elections is the lengthening or shortening of the terms now held by the participating parties in the Assembly. Articles 83(2) and 172(1) of the Indian Constitution specify the terms of the State Assemblies and the House of People. According to the Articles, the President, the State Governors, and the elected parties will dissolve the parties after five years, “unless sooner.” A private member’s bill proposing changes to Articles 356, 83, and 172 of the Constitution was introduced before the Lok Sabha.

In a similar vein, a second bill to amend the Constitution was presented to the Council of States in order to explore and determine whether simultaneous elections would be possible. The bill made clear how Articles 83 and 172 of the Constitution need to be amended. The aforementioned modifications will play a crucial role in ensuring that elections for the House of People or State Legislative Assemblies are held at the same time. Although the language “unless sooner dissolved” in the Constitution permits tenure reductions on a voluntary basis, an amendment to the Constitution is the only way to extend the duration.

Apart from the previously mentioned, there is no provision in the Constitution for the state assemblies’ term extensions. Article 356 addresses the President’s authority in the state and is activated in the event that a state’s constitutional machinery malfunctions. Sadly, this framework cannot be utilized as a tool to achieve election synchronization, and Article 172 of the Constitution would need to be amended. In a similar vein, the article may also include a new section that would allow for the desired synchronization of elections between the state legislative assemblies.[12]

This alternative approach may necessitate a slight extension or reduction in the tenure of several state assemblies, so it may be appropriate to amend the provisions found in Articles 174(1) and 85(1) of the Constitution under sections 14 and 15 of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Pros of One Nation One Election :

Model code of conduct: After one election, there will be less time for the model code and more time for the legislators to talk about issues pertaining to policy.

Easy-to-use approach: Because every government employee may be employed at once, this can also aid in boosting awareness and lowering elements like booth capturing, black money, etc.

Lessen the impact on the service industry: The voting process involves more than one crore government workers, many of whom are teachers. It will aid in putting an end to this threat.

Benefits for tenure completion: It will guarantee that the Lok Sabha serves out the full five-year term that the Constitution intended.

Fostering policy formation: A solitary electoral procedure would offer sufficient duration to concentrate on formulating policies, devoid of the stress of securing or forfeiting votes.

Reducing vices: The numerous elections that take place virtually annually are the root of casteism, communalism, corruption, and bias. One nation, one election is a concept that may help to  resolve this issue.

Concerns about security: Election-related tasks sometimes need the diversion of security troops. Solving this issue can be aided by one nation, one election. Moreover, PM Modi stated, “There is a lot of security and police work done in this country, but they are stuck with election work.”[13]

Temporal necessity: Given that KC Tyagi of the Janata Dal (United), which governs Bihar with BJP backing, stated, “I don’t see this as a BJP programme,” it is clear from his comments. “We are reforming national elections with this.”[14]


Increases responsibility:In addition to increasing accountability, the regular election cycle keeps politicians alert. According to the prime minister, the nation suffers because politicians manage our government and compete in elections, splitting their energies. Consider myself; I do need to be aware of the next elections. I could focus better if they weren’t around.[15]

Preserving time: Our legislators spend a lot of time blaming and slandering each other, time that could be better spent elsewhere. The general public would also find it more efficient to cast both ballots at once.

Saving money: Since parties won’t be spending as much money on individual campaigns, it will help keep election costs down. For example, Prime Minister Modi mentioned the amount spent on elections, stating that Rs 4,000 crore was spent on the 2014 contest and Rs 1,100 crore on the 2009 one.

Beneficial for foreign residents: If foreign residents want to participate in the election, they will have the chance to cast ballots in all elections simultaneously, which will be beneficial for them.

Greater emphasis on development: Politicians spend half the year formulating plans for the next election. It will assist the Center’s senior leaders in abstaining from campaigning, which frequently means sacrificing their ministerial responsibilities. “Political party groups form the government, and they have to run for office again if there are elections in five years,” stated Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar. [16]

Cons of One Nation One Election

Constitutional amendments: The Indian constitution has to be amended extensively in order to allow for simultaneous elections at both levels.

Decreased communication between governmental officials: Reducing the frequency of elections would result in them being inactive or less active for the remainder of the term.

Different terms: In order to organize simultaneous elections, the center will need to convince certain states to agree to shorten their house of representatives’ tenure while extending those of others.[17]

Not a simple process: There might not be enough security or administrative personnel to handle the process.

Mixing up the national concerns: Holding both elections concurrently will also result in the national problems being confused with the state issues.

Mutual consensus: Obtaining political unanimity from all sides is the primary challenge with simultaneous polling.

Voter behavior: “There is unmistakable empirical evidence that, in simultaneous elections for the Centre and States, the majority of Indian voters choose the same party, with the relationship diminishing as elections are held farther away.” [18]

Political autonomy: It will have an impact on the state’s political autonomy.

Similar parties rule both at the state and federal levels: Similar governments may be elected at both levels, as was the case in the elections of 1952, 1957, and 1962.

Agreement among the regional parties: Due to the fact that people typically support the same party in both state and federal elections, could they be held simultaneously at both levels.[19]


The idea of “One India, One Election” is commendable, but it needs to be carefully considered whether or not it would actually make things better. Ultimately, however, we have seen that it was not followed when the 2019 general election was announced. If the laws and regulations are properly followed, accounting for the growing demand for competent administrative staff and security, it might be a significant improvement to the Indian election system. According to the standing committee, there should be ways to lessen the number of elections held in India so that the electoral commission and other government agencies have more time for other administrative tasks. Still, it might not be feasible to proceed with this configuration right now.

In order to avoid having continuous elections throughout the nation, the 21st Law Commission recommends holding simultaneous elections. On the other hand, a number of stakeholders must be involved in this transformation. In order to hammer out implementation details and create statutory and constitutional reforms, Niti Aayog recommends assembling a focused group of specialists that includes think tanks, political party leaders, election experts, and constitutional experts. The parliamentary standing committee suggests a two-phase strategy for simultaneous elections in the event that this change fails. In the event that the present system malfunctions, this backup plan may be taken into account.

In a nutshell, I would like to state that everything that is done in the political sphere these days is thought to be done with the intention of winning support or discrediting the opposition party. The key issue at hand is this: Is democratic India truly prepared to abandon the established electoral system in favor of One India One Election?

[1] Et Online, “One Nation, One Election: Why BJP Is Pushing for It and Why It Is Opposed” (The Economic Times, March 15, 2024) <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/one-nation-one-election-why-bjp-wants-it-and-why-it-is-opposed/articleshow/108500237.cms>.


[2] Kumar, Vivek. “One nation one election: Indian perspective.”

[3] Arora S and Arora S, “What Is One Nation One Election Policy in India, Advantage and Disadvantage?” (adda247, March 15, 2024) <https://currentaffairs.adda247.com/one-nation-one-election-policy-in-india/>


[4] Makin T, “One Nation One Election – Pros &amp; Cons~ Group Discussion Ideas” (Group Discussion Ideas, July 3, 2019) <http://www.groupdiscussionideas.com/one-nation-one-election-feasible/>


[5] ibid

[6] Tawa Lama-Rewal, S. (2009). Studying elections in India: Scientific and political debates. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, (3)

[7] Santoshkumar R, Lalithambika R. A New National Election Reforms “One India One Election and also People with Three Votes, Voice of Intellectual ManAn International Journal; c2020.

[8] Election Commission of India.(2018). “The Functions (Electoral System of India)”.Available at: https://eci.gov.in/about/about-eci/the-functions-electoral-system-of-india-r2/ (Last Visited on August 27,2020).

[9] Bansal, M. (2019). The Concept of One Nation One Election: An Analysis from Indian Perspective. Think India Journal, 22(4), 3077-3084.

[10] Bhagat, P., & Pokharyal, M. P. (2020). CONCEPTUAL REFORMS ONE NATION–ONE ELECTION. Ilkogretim Online, 19(4), 3929-3935.

[11] ibid

[12] sabrang. (2023, September 21). Analysing the Feasibility of Simultaneous Elections in India: A Review of Committee Recommendations and Constitutional Implications. SabrangIndia. https://sabrangindia.in/analysing-the-feasibility-of-simultaneous-elections-in-india-a-review-of-committeerecommendations-and-constitutional-implications/

[13] Conversation MR, “Laid-Back but Brilliant: Scientist Martin Rees Looks Back on His Student Years with Stephen Hawking” (Scroll.in, March 14, 2018) <https://scroll.in/article/872039/laid-back-but-brilliant-scientist-martin-rees-looks-back-on-his-student-years-with-stephen-hawking>

[14] ibid

[15] India H and India H, “The Hans India” (The Hans India, February 2, 2018) <http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Opinion/2018-02-02/One-nation-One-election-a-path-breaking-electoral-reform/356029>


[16] Supranote15

[17] Kaushik, A. K., & Goyal, Y. (2019). The desirability of one nation one election in India: simultaneous elections. The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies, 44(1/2), 110-120.

[18] “One India One Election – Pros and Cons” <https://www.careerride.com/view/one-india-one-election-pros-and-cons-29332.aspx>

[19] ibid

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“One Nation, One Election”: A Game-Changer in the Indian Electoral System

Introduction: Scope and Definition of Simultaneous Elections

The idea of One Nation, One Election (ONOE) aims at restructuring and synchronizing the Indian election system. It is a system where the Lok Sabha and Vidhana Sabha (State Assemblies) elections are held simultaneously once in five years. In such a scenario, a voter would normally cast his/her vote for electing members of Lok Sabha and State Assembly on a single day and at the same time. But however, it does not necessitate the voting process to happen in a single day. It can be conducted in a phase-wise as per the existing practice provided voters in a particular constituency vote for both State Assembly and Lok Sabha the same day. The initiative will need a constitutional amendment, which will require ratification by 50% of the states.

This system however, excludes the elections of Panchayats, State municipalities and by-elections. The concept “Simultaneous Elections” ideally implies that elections to all the three tiers of constitutional institutions should take place on a single day. But, the third tier institutions which are primarily a State subject as per the Constitution are directed and controlled by the State Election Commissions.  These institutions are so significantly large in number that it becomes almost impossible to synchronize their election schedules with that of Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections.

History of Simultaneous Election

The concept of simultaneous elections is, in fact, not new to the country. Post adoption of the Constitution, the elections to Lok Sabha and all State Legislative Assemblies were held simultaneously between 1951 till 1967 when the cycle of synchronized elections got disrupted. The first general elections to Lok Sabha and all State Legislative Assemblies were held together in 1951-52.

This practice continued over three subsequent general elections held in the years- 1957, 1962 and 1967. However, due to the premature dissolution of some Legislative Assemblies in 1968 and 1969, the cycle got disrupted for the first time. In 1970, Fourth Lok Sabha was itself dissolved prematurely and fresh elections held in 1971. The term of Fifth Lok Sabha was extended till 1977 under Article 352. As a result of all such premature dissolutions and extension, the cycle of simultaneous elections has been firmly disrupted. The table below presents the timelines of key milestones of various Lok Sabhas till date.

Relevant Constitutional and Statutory provisions

The aspects of constitution, dissolution and expiration of the legislatures (Lok Sabha / State Assemblies) are governed by constitutional and statutory provisions. Some of the relevant provisions for the instant matter are – 

  • Conduct of elections

Article 324 of the Constitution mandates the Election Commission of India (ECI) to supervise, direct and control elections to the offices of President, Vice President, both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha), State Legislative Assemblies and State Legislative Councils.

Further, 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution in 1992 provided for the creation of State Election Commissions (SECs) and are mandated to perform the above duties for constituting the third tier of Government in both rural and urban areas (Panchayati raj institutions, municipal bodies etc).

Besides this, the Parliament has enacted the Representation of People Act, 1950 & 1951 and the Rules framed there under, viz., Registration of Electors Rules, 1960 and Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to facilitate the conduct of elections by the ECI.

The Representation of People Act, 1951 provides the statutory basis for Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct elections in the country. Under Sections 14 and 15 of the Act, ECI is empowered to notify elections to both Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies six months prior to the end of normal terms of these Houses. These provisions may be used to hold elections without extension of terms of some Assemblies.

  • Term of Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies

Article 83 of the Constitution of India provides for the tenure of both Houses of the Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). Further, Article 83(2) provides for a term of five years for Lok Sabha, from the date of its first sitting unless dissolved earlier. It also states that the 5 years tenure period can be extended by a maximum of one year only in the case of an emergency. A similar provision also exists for State Legislative Assembly, under the Article 172 (1)) of the Constitution.

  • Pre-mature dissolution of Lok Sabha or State Assemblies

Article 85 (2)(b) of the Constitution of India provides the President with the power to dissolve Lok Sabha. Similar provision for dissolution of State Legislative Assemblies by the Governor of State is provided under Article 174 (2)(b). In the case of President’s Rule as provided under Article 356, the Legislative Assembly of the said State may be prematurely dissolved by the President.

It is important to note the judgement of S R Bommai v. Union of India in this context. The Court held that the power under Article 356 should be used very sparingly and only when President is fully satisfied that a situation has arisen where the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Otherwise, the frequent use of this power and its exercise are likely to disturb the Constitutional balance. Thereby, declared that the States have anindependent constitutional existence, and they have as important a role to play in the political, social, educational and cultural life of the people as the Union.

  • Collective Responsibility of Council of Ministers and No-confidence Motion

According to the Article 75(3) of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People. At the level of States too, Article 164(2) provides for a similar responsibility of the Council of Ministers to the State Legislative Assembly.

The Executive, therefore, derives its legitimacy from the Legislature and remains in power as long as it enjoys the confidence of the latter. A No-confidence Motion can be passed if either the Lok Sabha or the State Legislative Assembly loses confidence in the Council of Ministers. It can fall any time with the passage of a No-confidence Motion in that House.

Pros and Cons of the Policy

The proponents of such a proposal argue that simultaneous polls will reduce expenses associated with holding elections. It is reported that the 2014 general elections cost the public exchequer an estimated ₹3,870 crore. It has also been pointed out that the Model Code of Conduct currently comes into effect twice in a five-year election cycle resulting in prolonged “governance downtime”.

However, opponents argue that this is likely to favour larger political parties with a national presence while disproportionately affecting smaller regional parties. A 2015 study by the independent think tank IDFC Institute revealed that between 1999 and 2014, there was a “77% chance that the winning political party or alliance will win both the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in that state when held simultaneously.” This figure drops to 61% if the elections are held even six months apart.

Recommendations of the High-level Panel on ‘One Nation, One Election

In September 2023, the Union Government set up a ‘High Level Committee on One Nation, One Election’ under the Chairmanship of former President of India, Ramnath Kovind. 

The High Level Committee has met on three occasions and sought the views of various national and State political parties on the subject of a common elections schedule. 

The panel unanimously recommended simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies as the first step followed by synchronised local body polls within 100 days, highlighting that such a mechanism will augment development and social cohesion and deepen the “foundations of the democratic rubric.”

  • Need for alleviating “huge burden” on stakeholders

Emphasizing the need to restore the cycle of simultaneous elections, the panel pointed out that conducting several elections every year casts a “huge burden” on stakeholders such as the government, businesses, workers, courts, political parties, candidates contesting elections, and the civil society at large. Accordingly, it said that the government must develop a “legally tenable mechanism” to ensure that elections to the Lok Sabha, State Assemblies and local bodies can be held simultaneously by 2029. It also maintained that simultaneous polls do not infringe upon the fundamental rights of the citizens or the basic structure of the Constitution.

  • Two Step Process for Simultaneous Elections

The Committee has suggested a two-step process for making simultaneous polls a reality. First, it recommended holding simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. According to the report, no ratification by the states will be required for the constitutional amendment.

Second, it proposed synchronising the elections for municipalities and panchayats with the general (simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly) elections in a manner that ensures that the former is conducted within 100 days of the latter.

Thereafter, the President will have to issue a notification on the same date as the date of the first sitting of the Lok Sabha designating it as the “appointed date” for the synchronisation of elections. Once such a date is fixed, the terms of all State Assemblies constituted after it shall end with the expiry of the Lok Sabha’s term. This will result in most State governments being unable to complete their stipulated five-year term even if they enjoy a majority.

If the new government elected after the 2024 Lok Sabha polls accepts these recommendations and immediately initiates the process, the first simultaneous polls could be held as early as 2029. During this transition period, all States with elections due between June 2024 and May 2029 would see their terms expire alongside the 18th Lok Sabha. Consequently, some State Assemblies would have terms of less than five years as a one-time measure to facilitate this synchronization.

  • Single electorate roll

The committee also recommended that Article 325 be amended to enable the preparation of a single electoral roll and single Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) by the ECI, in consultation with the State Election Commissions (SECs). If this recommendation is accepted, the process of creating electoral rolls will be taken over by the ECI, and SECs will play a purely consultative role. These amendments will require ratification by not less than one-half of the states.

  • Ratification by States

Article 368 governs the process of amending the Constitution. While some provisions can be amended in the same way ordinary legislations are passed— through a simple majority of those present and voting in each House of the Parliament; others require a “special majority” i.e., not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting in each House of the Parliament as well as by a majority of the total membership of each House.

  • Meeting logistical requirements

The committee has recommended that for meeting logistical requirements, the Election Commission of India will plan and estimate in advance, in consultation with the State Election Commissions, and take steps for the deployment of manpower, polling personnel, security forces, EVMs/VVPATs, etc., so that free and fair simultaneous elections are held in all the three tiers of the government.


The outcome of ‘One Nation, One Election has the potential to alter the fundamentals of democratic set-up and reset the federal structure, at this juncture, it is necessary to examine the legal issues arising out of it. The recommendations of the Committee will have to be evaluated as to its practicality and design a possible solution for simultaneous elections. Further, the safeguards will also be required to ensure the continuity of the cycle of simultaneous Elections. There is a need to reduce expenditures incurred on continuous elections and yet maintain the balance of federal polity and effective governance.


Government of India, NITI Aayog, Notes/Inputs provided by the NITI Aayog.





Article Written By – Keerthi K