Commission chairman Justice (retd) Ajit Prakash Shah said that Congress is the only major political party which responded to its May, 2013 consultation paper. (Agencies)
Karnataka's Welfare Party of India, a registered political party, was the other political outfit which responded to the consultation paper. Eight MPs - four each from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha responded to the paper. 123
individuals and 21 organizations have also responded to the consultation paper.
"I must tell you, the response was lukewarm," Justice Shah told reporters in the national capital.
He said that the Aam Aadmi Party was not sent the consultation paper because at that time, it was not a recognized political party.
In response to a question, Justice Shah said that the issue of banning opinion polls is not with the Commission.
"But we might take a look at it suo motu," he said, adding that any decision on the complex issue should be taken keeping in mind the provisions under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution which talks about freedom and speech and expression.
Existing law allows EC to ban them just 48 hours prior to voting.
The Election Commission, the Attorney General and major political parties, except BJP, have supported the move to ban opinion polls.
He said that the Commission would be in a position to give its report on comprehensive reforms in electoral laws by middle of April only.
He agreed that with Lok Sabha elections due in April-May, only the next government and the 16th Lok Sabha would be in a position to take a call on the report.
Law Commission recommendations to the government are not binding in nature.
Among the issues raised in the paper are disqualification of chargesheeted or convicted persons, filing of false affidavits and state funding of elections.
While decriminalizing politics and the issue of false affidavits by candidates are part of the consultation paper, the Commission is holding a separate national consultation on the two issues on February one here as it has to file a report before the Supreme Court on the subjects next month.
In December, the Apex Court had asked the law panel to submit a report on the two issues — whether disqualification should be triggered upon conviction as it exists today or upon framing of charges or filing of charge sheet and whether filing of false affidavit under Section 125 A of Representation of the People Act should be a ground for disqualification.
It wanted to know if it can be a ground for disqualification, what mode and mechanism be followed for such disqualification.
In its consultation paper, the Law Commission had also asked whether, in addition to the existing scheme of disqualification, a new statutory provision needs to be inserted for evaluation of fitness of a candidate by an
The other issues covered by the consultation paper include election funding.
On the issue of state funding of election expenses and regulation of conduct of political parties, the Law Commission had asked whether there should at all be state funding of elections of a candidate or political party. It had said if there was state funding, what should be its criteria and the quantum of funding.
Commission chairman Justice (retd) Ajit Prakash Shah said that Congress is the only major political party which responded to its May, 2013 consultation paper.