The Law Commission on Tuesday lamented the “lukewarm” response of political parties to its consultation paper floated last year seeking stakeholders’ views to enable it recommend reforms in the present electoral laws.
Commission chairman Justice (Retd) Ajit Prakash Shah said Congress was the only major political party which responded to its May, 2013 consultation paper.
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 organisations have also responded to the consultation paper.
“I must tell you, the response was lukewarm,” Justice Shah told reporters here.
He said the Aam Aadmi Party was not sent the consultation paper because at that time, it was not a recognised political party.
In response to a question, Justice Shah said 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 the 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 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 the disqualification of chargesheeted or convicted persons, filing of false affidavits and state funding of elections.