18 Yrs Can be the Age to Contest Polls, Opines Parliamentary Committee

New Delhi: A parliamentary committee on Friday advocated for reducing the minimum age to contest Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to 18 years.

The panel felt it would give the youth equal opportunities to engage in democracy.

At present a person should be at least 25 years old to contest Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The minimum age to become a member of the Rajya Sabha and the state legislative council is 30 years.

At 18 years one can register as a voter is 18 years.

“After examining various countries’ practices, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, the Committee observes that the minimum age for candidacy in national elections needs to be 18 years. These nations’ examples demonstrate that young individuals can be reliable and responsible political participants,” said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Personnel said.

But the Election Commission is of the view that unless compelling reasons exist to alter a provision of the Constitution, it should remain unchanged.

“The Commission has already considered the issue of aligning the minimum age for voting and contesting elections to Parliament, state legislature, and local bodies and has found that it is unrealistic to expect 18-year-olds to possess the necessary experience and maturity for these responsibilities. Therefore, the minimum age for voting and contesting elections is appropriate. The Commission does not favour reducing the age requirement for membership of Parliament and state legislatures and still maintains this view,” the poll panel noted.

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