How House terms and poll schedules are decided

News Excerpt:

The date of counting for Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim has been advanced by two days to ensure that their existing Houses' terms don't end before the election process is complete.

The Constitution provision about the terms of state Assemblies and Lok Sabha:

  • Under the Constitution, the terms of both state Assemblies and Lok Sabha last for five years from the first sitting of the House.
  • Article 172(1) 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 and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the Assembly”.
    • The term of the Assembly may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.
  • For Lok Sabha, Article 83(2) 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 and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the House.

What are the things that the ECI looks at while fixing the election schedule?

  • It is standard procedure for the ECI to consider factors such as -
    • Weather, festivals, and important examinations, as well the availability of school buildings, where polling stations are often set up, and teachers, who are mobilised for election duty, while deciding the schedule of elections.

Earlier such instances:

  • In 2004, the tenure of the Assembly in Andhra Pradesh was to end on May 13, the same day that counting for Lok Sabha and other states was scheduled. 
    • So the counting in AP was scheduled for May 11.
  • In 2023, the date of counting for the Assembly election in Mizoram was changed from December 3 to December 4.
    • Because December 3 was a Sunday and, according to the ECI, Sundays hold s00pecial significance for the people of [Christian-majority] Mizoram.

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