Introducing electoral reforms to reduce the influence of
money and muscle power in politics
ELECTORAL REFORMS IN INDIA
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever
resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced
by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and
thus they necessarily have the same results .
India has both General and State elections as promoted by our federal structure.
The Election Commission of India is the apex body that conducts elections in
Some of the Electoral reforms that have occupied the Election Process includes
EVMs that is, Electronic Voting Machine which results in more transparency and
creditability of elections, Universal Adult Franchise initiated by 61st Amendment,
1988 which has reduced the age of voters from 21 years to 18 years and Anti-
Defection Law which curtails the criminals from taking tickets of various political
parties and also bestows on them the right to extract the contesting candidates’
profile. Besides, Section 58A has been inserted in the Representative of the
People’s Act by Act 1 of 1 providing for adjournment of pole or revoking of
elections because of booth capturing.
ELECTIONS IN INDIA
“Elections are held to delude the populace into believing that they are participating
Elections in India are held for the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, and the State
Legislative Assemblies that is Vidhan Sabha, the Legislative Council known as
Vidhan Parishad and for the President and the Vice- President too.
A large expanse of money is spent when these elections are held. The Chief
Election Commissioner, Dr. S.Y Qureshi recently spoke with NDTV news on the
challenges from a corrupt electoral system. He says that elections have become a
biggest source of corruption because a huge expanse of money is spent in
conducting such elections and this is beyond the prescribed limit.
The candidates who win have the propensity to take their money back and that
too with interest. This is how the corruption commences.
He further adds that it has become a competitive phenomenon in system. If one
party spends more money, then the other party standing for election spends like
IDENTIFING THE PROBLEM AREA
More specifically, the Commission has found that the main problem areas may be
identified to be as follows:
• Increasing cost of elections leading to unethical, illegal and even mafia provided
electoral funding, corruption, criminalization and black money generation in
• In many cases, more votes are cast against the winning candidates than for
• Inaccurate and flawed electoral rolls and voter identity leading to rigging and
denial of voting rights to a large number of citizens.
• Booth capturing and fraudulent voting by rigging and impersonation.
• Use of raw muscle power in the form of intimidation of voters either to vote
against their will or not to vote at all, thus taking away the right of free voting
from large sections of society and distorting the result thereby.
• Involvement of officials and local administration in subverting the electoral
FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
India is the largest democracy in the world. Since 1947, free and fair elections are
held at regular intervals as per the guidelines of the Constitution and the
The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the
superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of
elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of
President and Vice-President of India.
Elections are conducted as per the constitutional provisions and the laws made
The major laws are Representation of the People Act, 1950, which mainly deals
with the preparation and revision of electoral rolls with all aspects of conduct of
elections and post election disputes.
CRIMINALIZATION IN ELECTORAL SYSTEM
If we are going to spend a lot of money to deal with the problem of 200
million guns in the country owned by 650 million gun owners, we ought to
have a system which will work and catch criminals.
The Law Commission of India Reports contains the bio data of the
politicians, describing their social background, charges against them, if any,
It is our fundamental right to know the antecedents of every person to
whom we give vote. But very few make use of such benefit.
This is because of the lack of awareness among people. Section 8 of People
Representation Act, 1951 provides for disqualification of any candidate on
being convicted by a Court of Law.
It also includes that such candidate shall be barred from contesting any
election further for six additional years since the date of conviction. This
shows an austere step to control criminalization in politics.
But the question is; is there a hardhearted implementation on the same? Is
it so that we have corrupt free officials? Also, do they feel the endurance of
such tests meant for scrutinizing their background?
To all this, the answer remains no .
The way our Legislature, the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the State
Legislative Assemblies function, it does not make us feel proud.
One of the major problems with the Legislature is the number of
unsatisfactory candidates who find their way to Legislatures.
They are not developed in vacuum or in isolation. It’s the citizens who do
not make use of the benefit furnished to them.
Therefore, one way to change the behavior of the political class would be to
change the system in which they have to operate. This is where electoral
reforms become important.
SUGGESTED REFORM OPTIONS
• The Commission recommends a foolproof method of preparing the electoral roll
right at the Panchayat level constituency of a voter and supplementing it by a
foolproof voter ID card which may in fact also serve as a multi-purpose citizenship
card for all adults. A single exercise should be enough for preparing common
electoral rolls and ID cards.
• The advantages of EVMs in preventing large-scale rigging are quite apparent as
the machine locks up and will permit only one hit every so many seconds. This also
makes counting easy and non-contestable and theoretically the results could be
available within a very short time if the system wanted to make prompt
announcement of the winning candidates.
•The commission recommends: Under section 58A of the Representation of the
Act, 1951, the Election Commission should be authorized to take a decision
regarding booth capturing on the report of the returning officers, observers or
•Political parties should in their rules and regulations provide for establishing
some institutional mechanism for planning, thinking and research on crucial
socio-economic issues facing the nation and educational cells for socializing their
• The Commission recommends that the Chief Election Commissioner and the
other Election Commissioners should be appointed on the recommendation of
a body consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok
Sabha, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the Speaker of the Lok
Sabha and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Similar procedure should
be adopted in the case of appointment of State Election Commissioners
• Parties should seriously consider adopting the leadership convention
system. This would have the advantage first, of making the leadership election
process more open, democratic and federal. Second, the people will know in
advance of the prospective Prime ministerial candidates.