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  1. 1. Introducing electoral reforms to reduce the influence of money and muscle power in politics Team Details Aditi Bhatnagar Rashmi Agrawal Swechcha Vats Dhwani Sahu Monika Lalwani
  2. 2. 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 India. 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.
  3. 3. ELECTIONS IN INDIA “Elections are held to delude the populace into believing that they are participating in Government” 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 a spendthrift.
  4. 4. 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 various forms. • In many cases, more votes are cast against the winning candidates than for them. • 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 process.
  5. 5. 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 Election Commission. 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 by Parliament. 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.
  6. 6. 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, etc. 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 .
  7. 7. CURRENT SITUATION 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.
  8. 8. 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 People Act, 1951, the Election Commission should be authorized to take a decision regarding booth capturing on the report of the returning officers, observers or citizen groups. •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
  9. 9. • 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.
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