Constitutional Provisions for Terms of State Assemblies and Lok Sabha

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Source-This post on Terms of state Assemblies and Lok Sabha is based on the article “How House terms and poll schedules are decided” published in “The Indian Express” on 20th March 2024.

Why in the News?

Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) rescheduled the date of counting votes in two states, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to June 2 from june 4. It was done after the realization that the term of both the Legislative Assemblies will expire on June 2.

What does the constitution say about terms of state Assemblies and Lok Sabha?

1. Under the Constitution, the terms of both state Assemblies and Lok Sabha is for five years from the first sitting of the House. It can only be dissolved earlier under the various mechanisms given in the constitution, but cannot be extended further.

2. Term of state Assemblies is defined under Article 172(1) of the Indian Constitution. It states: “Every Legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer. The expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the Assembly”.

3. The term of the state assembly may be extended by Parliament when there is a proclamation of Emergency. However, the extension cannot exceed one year at a time and once the Proclamation has ceased to operate, the extension cannot be given beyond a period of six months, in any case.

4. Terms of Lok Sabha is defined under Article 83(2). It states: “The House of the People, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer. The expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the House.”

5. It means that the term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting.

6. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament. However, the extension cannot exceed one year at a time and once the Proclamation has ceased to operate, the extension cannot be given beyond a period of six months, in any case.

How does Election commission operate to ensure continuation of Houses and Parliament?

The ECI ensures the completion of the election process at least one day before the end of the term of the House.

It means, a few days prior to dissolution date, results are declared. One or two days are kept for the completion of documentation and other formalities.

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