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  1. 1. Team Details: Abhishek K. Singh, Chandan Bugalia, Rishabh P. Shah, Vivek Dhaka, Utsav Prashar Students, B. A. LL.B. (Hons.), NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad Fairness at Play: Introducing Electoral Reforms to Reduce the Influence of Money and Muscle Power in Politics
  2. 2.  Disclosure of Assets of Candidates for Election  Legalisation and Reporting of Lobbying  Reworking the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners  Preventing Lawbreakers to become Lawmakers  Combating Money’s Might in Politics  Increasing Financial Accountability and Good Governance in Political Parties Overview of Suggested Reforms The little, large Indian should not be hijacked from the course of free and fair elections by mob muscle methods, or subtle perversion of discretion by men "dressed in little, brief authority". For "be you ever so high, the law is above you". Krishna Iyer, J. in Mohinder Singh Gill v. Chief Election Commissioner, 1977 SC
  3. 3. Problem Recommendation The average income and assets of India’s 100 richest legislators grew by 745% between two consecutive elections or five years Dr B. R. Ambedkar proposed a “Four Point Formula” with respect to declaration of assets in the Constituent Assembly on December 31, 1948. 1. Declaration of assets and the liabilities at the time of the nomination 2. Declaration at the end of the quitting of the office by the legislator 3. Responsibility for explaining as to how the assets have come to be so abnormal 4. Failure to give proper explanation constitute an offence to be followed up by a penalty or fine. No mechanism of mandatory explanation of dramatic increase in wealth of a legislator at the end of his term in the office. Failure to furnish proper evidence of increase in wealth does not amount to an offence recognised by law Accountability in Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities of Candidates
  4. 4. Problems Recommendation Lobbying has not been institutionalized in India. As a result Corruption and Money Laundering has forayed into politics. By Regulated Lobbying there shall be reasoned disclosure of the source as well as the reason behind funding by individuals and corporations. In order to ensure that the reasons behind funding of political parties are revealed tax exemptions should be made to ensure that people register themselves as Lobbyist. Legalisation and Reporting of Lobbying
  5. 5. Problems Recommendations The President, in consultation with Union Cabinet appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners under Article 324(2) of the Constitution of India 1. The process of the appointment must be not only fair but also seen to be fair. 2. Amendment in the Article 324(2) of the Constitution of India and thus, the Election Commissioners should be appointed based on the recommendation received by a three-member committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or any of their representative nominees. 3. The candidates whose name are to be considered by the committee must be put on the website of the Election Commission of India and objection in written must be invited from the members of the general public. 4. 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, minutes of the meeting should be put on the Similarly, the Election Commissioners are appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Election Commissioner. This, in effect means that the political party in power at the Centre controls the matters of appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners, This problem was also foreseen by Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena in the Constituent Assembly. It is only a convention but not a letter of law that the senior most Election Commissioner assumes the office of the Chief Election Commissioner on the incumbent’s retirement. Reworking the Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners
  6. 6. Problem Recommendation The SC in the case of ECI v. Jan Chowkidar (People’s Watch) held that a person in lawful custody of police is not an elector and therefore not qualified to contest elections. This judgment creates a huge scope of abuse of power by the ruling party to muzzle the opposition which will threaten the very fundamentals of a democratic system of polity. To prevent the happening of such motivated cases, the Election Commission of India recommended that only those cases which were filed prior to six months before an election alone would lead to disqualification of the candidate. Post the judgment of the S.C. in Lily Thomas v. Union of India, a sitting elected representative is disqualified from the date of his conviction. The Court has further clarified that a member/ non-member will not suffer disqualification if he or she obtains a stay of his or her conviction. However, by operation of S. 389/ 482 of the Cr.P.C., the stay will operate from the date such conviction order is passed. Hence by election is necessitated even if the order is patently illegal and this protection is available only to sitting representative. The judgment needs to be revisited by a larger bench of the Supreme Court. Preventing Law Breakers to become Law Makers
  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. But similar provision does not exist for 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. Combating Money’s Might in Politics
  8. 8. Problem Recommendation 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) In light of the Chief Information Commissioners order mandating that political parties make voluntary disclosures relating to their organisation and functioning the following reforms are proposed: • 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 • In the event a political party does not comply with these measures it may either be de-registered by the Election Commission or the power to use its own symbol may be taken away. Increasing Financial Accountability and Good Governance in Political Parties