Fairness at Play: Introducing Electoral Reforms to Reduce
the Influence of Money and Muscle Power in Politics
Abhishek K. Singh, Chandan Bugalia, Rishabh Shah,
Utsav Prashar,Vivek Dhaka
V Year, B. A., LL.B. (Hons.), NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.
“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
Preventing Lawbreakers from becoming
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
Overview of Suggested Proposal
Accountability in Disclosure of Assets and
Liabilities of Candidates
3173 684 420 317
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)
It is evident that the political
party in power at the Centre
controls the matters of
appointment of the Chief
Election Commissioner and the
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
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
All Election Commissioners are equal
If we disagree with the man without specs we
may be fired by him.
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
They can be removed by the
President of India on the
recommendation of the Chief
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.
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
Issue : Malicious filing of false
criminal charges against
genuine candidates just before
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
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.
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
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
It can also impose a penal
sanctions and fines on a
person filing a false account.
Combating Money’s Might in Politics
No. Of successful
MPs and MLAs
Total 62847 8790
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.
The United Progressive Alliance
government has an advertising
budget of 1.8 billion rupees for 2014
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
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.
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
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
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
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.