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  1. 1. Fairness at Play: Introducing Electoral Reforms to Reduce the Influence of Money and Muscle Power in Politics Team Details Abhishek K. Singh, Chandan Bugalia, Rishabh Shah, Utsav Prashar,Vivek Dhaka _________________________________________________________________________________________________ V Year, B. A., LL.B. (Hons.), NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.
  2. 2. “Democracy and free and fair elections are inseparable twins. There is an inseverable umbilical cord joining them. In a democracy the little man – voter has overwhelming importance and cannot be hijacked from the course of free and fair election”. -Rameshwar Prasad v. Union of India  Disclosure of Assets of Candidates for Elections  Reworking the Appointment and Removal of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners  Preventing Lawbreakers from becoming Lawmakers  Combating Money’s Might in Politics  Regulating Government Advertisements  Increasing Financial Accountability and Good Governance in Political Parties  Reworking the Method of Counting Votes of EVM’s Overview of Suggested Proposal
  3. 3. Accountability in Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities of Candidates 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 3173 684 420 317 Number of Candidates Main Issue : Failure to furnish proper evidence of increase in wealth does not amount to an offence recognized by law. As a result such growth goes unchecked. Declaration of assets and the liabilities at the time of the nomination Declaration at the end of the quitting of office by the legislator Responsibility for explaining as to how the assets have increased extraordinarily Failure to give proper explanation shall constitute an offence to be followed up by a penalty or fine.  Average Increase in Wealth of Candidates (crores)
  4. 4. Problems Recommendations It is evident that the political party in power at the Centre controls the matters of appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners. 1. Appointment of all three commissioners based on a recommendation received from a three-member committee consisting of the A)Chief Justice of India, B)the Prime Minister C) Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. 2. The names of the candidates that are to be considered by the committee must be put on the website of the Election Commission of India and objections in writing must be invited from the members of the general public. 3. The candidates to be considered for the post of Election Commissioners should mandatorily be cleared by the Chief Vigilance Commissioner and the reasons for their appointment or rejection, should be made public. It is only a convention but not the letter of law that the senior most Election Commissioner assumes the office of the Chief Election Commissioner upon the incumbent’s retirement. Reworking the Appointment and Removal of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners President upon a binding recommend ation From the Union Cabinet appoints The Chief Election Commissioner and Two Election Commissioners
  5. 5. All Election Commissioners are equal in status. CHIEF ELECTION COMMISS IONER ELECTION COMMISS IONER ELECTION COMMISS IONER If we disagree with the man without specs we may be fired by him. EVEN WHEN……. Issue Recommendation 1.Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from his post in the manner and on the grounds on which a judge of the Supreme Court is removed. 2. However this privilege is not available to the other two election commissioners. They can be removed by the President of India on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner. 1. Article 324(5) of the Constitution should be amended so as to provide for the removal of the election commissioners in the same manner as is provided for the Chief Election Commissioner. 2. Hence an election commissioners’ tenure will not remain at the mercy of the Central Government and the Chief Election Commissioner.
  6. 6. Preventing Law Breakers from becoming Law Makers in light of Recent Supreme Court Rulings ECI v. Jan Chowkidar (People’s Watch) held that a person in lawful custody of police is not an elector and cannot contest elections. Issue : Malicious filing of false criminal charges against genuine candidates just before elections Solution : Only such cases which are filed prior to six months before an election will be counted for disqualification Lily Thomas v. Union of India, it was held that a sitting elected representative is disqualified from the date of his conviction. Anomaly : What if a higher Court stays the conviction after the member has already been disqualified, then can there be fresh elections? Solution : Amendment to S. 389 of the Criminal Procedure Code to the effect that a stay on the conviction of a Member shall not reverse his disqualification.
  7. 7. Problem Recommendation According to Section 10A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 a person who fails to lodge an account of election expenses without any good reason or justification shall be disqualified. However this provision does not cover a situation where a candidate files a false account of election expenses. The Representation of the People Act, 1951 should be amended to give powers to Election Commission of India to disqualify a candidate if he lodges incorrect account of election expenses. It can also impose a penal sanctions and fines on a person filing a false account. Combating Money’s Might in Politics Number of Candidates Analyzed (2004 onwards) No. Of successful MPs and MLAs Analyzed (2004 onwards) Total 62847 8790 Individual Average Assets of Contesting Members Rs 1.37 crores Rs. 3.83 crores Source: Association of Democratic Reforms. Analysis of the data has revealed that money power have a large bearing on the Chances of winning of a candidate.
  8. 8. Regulating Government Advertisements The United Progressive Alliance government has an advertising budget of 1.8 billion rupees for 2014 general election. Issue: the government advertises its achievements before the elections using the public money. Solution: 6 months before the election date, the advertisements of achievements of the government should be prohibited. advertisements regarding health related schemes and poverty alleviation programmes should be exempted. Ambiguity with regard to regulation on display of election matter through social media and the print media. Issue-even just before the elections social media and print media is used for influencing the voters. Solution- Sec.126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 should be amended so as to prohibit display of election matter in print media as well as the social media during period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll.
  9. 9. Increasing Financial Accountability and Good Governance in Political Parties As per Harold Laski, “The life of the democratic state is built upon the party system.” “A political party which does not respect democratic principles in its internal working cannot be expected to respect those principles in the governance of the country”. (170th Law Commission of India Report). Hence it is important to have accountability norms backed by sanctions. If a party does not comply with these norms then it may be de-registered by the Election Commission Political parties must be required to maintain the same level of public accountability as public institutions. To ensure better governance within political parties each party must have its own executive committee. The committee must comprise of members selected through internal elections regulated by the Election Commission A political party must maintain regular accounts of the amounts received by the party, its income and expenditure, have them audited and submit the same to the Election Commission
  10. 10. Reworking the Method of Counting Votes of EVM’s 1. Presently, the counting of votes polled by members through an EVM is done by taking the number of votes polled in each polling station. 2. This gives an idea to the candidates about the pattern of voting in each area of his constituency and may lead to post-election harassment of voters. 1. Present system of counting of votes should be replaced with the TOTALIZER. 2. This will enable officials to take out the results of votes polled in a group of EVMs together, instead of counting votes polling station wise. 2. This will prevent post-election victimization as local patterns of voting will be unknown.