MINIMUM AGE FOR CONTESTING ELECTION (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Polity & Governance)

News-CRUX-10     5th August 2023        
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Context: A Parliamentary panel recommended lowering the minimum age for contesting an Assembly election from 25 years to 18 years, saying it would widen the viewpoints in policy debates, thereby improving the credibility of the political process.

Key Points

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice presented its report on “aspects of election process and their reform” to the Rajya Sabha. 
  • The panel also cautioned the government and the Election Commission on their proposal for a common electoral roll for Parliamentary, Assembly and local body elections, saying that the principles of federalism should be adhered to. 
  • The committee also recommended increasing the punishment for a candidate filing a false affidavit from six months to up to two years and a fine, depending on the severity of the offence.
  • The committee observes that reducing the minimum age requirement for candidacy in elections would give young individuals equal opportunities to engage in democracy.
  • The committee said it was disconcerting that 47% of MPs in 2019 were over the age of 55, as per PRS Legislative Research, while India’s median age was 27.9 years.
  • The Election Commission, however, did not agree with the need to change the minimum age. 
  • In its input to the committee, the poll panel said it has considered the issue and found it unrealistic to expect 18-year-olds to “possess the necessary experience and maturity for these responsibilities”.
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