Electoral Reforms

Electoral Reforms

Present Situation

Persons elected to the Local Bodies/State Assemblies/Parliament have a secure tenure of five or six years, as the case may be, and because of this, even if they do not perform properly or even if they do not take action to fulfill their promises to the electorate, nothing can be done till the next round of elections arrive on the scene. This ensures that people have to put up with an elected representative, who does not represent them in the real sense but represents either only himself or his political party. Sometimes, his own personal agenda overcomes his loyalty even to his political party.

FRNV Recommendations/Plan

Legislative Backing to Implement Code of Conduct during Elections

Without legal backing, Election Commission finds itself unable to implement Code of Conduct among political parties and candidates during elections. Election Commission should be empowered to levy penalties for violation of the Code of Conduct and even debar candidates from contesting in serious cases.

Preventing Criminals from Contesting Elections

In the present Lok Sabha, nearly one third of the members have serious criminal cases pending against them. The only way to ensure that persons with good background get elected is to debar persons with criminal background from contesting elections if they have been convicted by a trial court.

Speedy Disposal of Poll Petitions

Election petitions are decided with undue delay by High Courts with the result that a petitioner who succeeds has very little time to serve the legislature/Parliament. The remedy would be to empower the Election Commission to hear the petitions or set up special tribunals (as recommended by the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission) to dispose these petitions speedily.

Negative Voting/Protest Voting

Voter turnout in elections has been low because voters do not approve of the candidates standing for elections. At present, he can record his protest vote but there is no secrecy in this process. Option for recording vote for ‘None of the above’ should be made available through amendment to the Election Rules. Public Interest Litigation is pending before Supreme Court on this issue.

Reducing Money Power in Elections

It is well known that substantial sums are spent on contesting elections, much more than that allowed under the Election Laws. This also gives rise to undesirable practices and lobbying. Funding of election expenses by the State could eliminate this menace substantially.

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