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MATS LAW SCHOOL

NATIONAL SEMINAR OF ELECTORAL REFORMS


TOPIC ACCOMPLISHING THE REAL BHARAT IN THE MILIEU OF ELECTORAL REFORMS

AUTHORS SHILPI BHANDARI YOGENDRA SINGH RAJPUT

INTRODUCTION
India stands as one of the world most influential rising democracies. It has been 60 years since the first Indian general election took place. Election Commission of India has come a long way in ensuring the electoral reforms of the country. However our election system, from the selection of candidates, to the manner in which funds are raised and spent in elecelection campaigns, are in dire need of significant changes. election campaigns, are in dire need of significant changes. Goswami Committee on Electoral Reforms (1990) Vohra Committee Report (1993) Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998) Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999) National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2001) Election Commission of India Proposed Electoral Reforms (2004) The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008)

CORE ISSUES
Criminalization of politics. Financing of elections. Conduct of elections.

CURRENT REMEDIAL MEASURES


The person who is accused of serious criminal offences and where the court is prima facie satisfied about his involvement should be kept away from electoral arena. Transparency in public life improves transparency in elections. So, contesting candidate must disclose his assets, liabilities, convicted and pending cases against him. The Supreme Court on March 13, 2003 declared that obtaining relevant information about the candidates is indeed a fundamental right under Article 19 (1), and as the Parliament had no power to make such a law abridging fundamental rights [Article 13 (2)], such a law is void. Making false declarations in election affidavits is an offence. Anyone giving false information in the affidavits should be debarred from contesting elections. The number of registered parties should be decreased. The election commission should be given powers to de-recognize smaller political parties on the basis of their performance. The amount of security deposit should be increased in order to keep a check on the non-serious candidates contesting union and state assembly elections. This move has been effective in past and in recent times, the number of candidates fighting elections has shown an increasing trend and hence there is a need to review the amount of security deposit.

Continued. Negative/neutral voting should be allowed as it will allow a voter to express his dissent by rejecting all the candidates contesting in his constituency if he finds none of them suitable to be elected. Democracy in India will be strengthened if people participate in large numbers in the electoral process and have a choice to reject all the candidates instead of being forced to select one who they think is less bad than the others in the fray. 97th Constitutional Amendment not only makes it mandatory for all those switching political sides whether singly or in groups to resign their legislative membership and seek re-election, but also bars The key provisions of the judgement include candidates disclosure of his/her: Criminal antecedents Assets and liabilities Educational qualifications legislators from holding, post-defection, any office of profit.

CONCLUDING REMARKS
Mere conducting of elections periodically doesnt prove that we are republic and have an effective democracy. It is the way elections are held, the quality of people elected, their performances that make our democracy effective. Flawed elections have often reduced the legitimacy of our democracy. The political parties do not pay attention to inculcate noble political values and principles of citizenship in the people. They perpetuate the differences among the people and make full use of those differences for creating conflicts among them. This is where our nation loses its essence. This menace needs to be curbed in order to achieve the true values of our freedom. Vigilant public opinion is required to put pressure on government. People have to be sensitized about the malaise of the electoral process. Youngster along with civil societies and voluntary groups can spread awareness on mass level so that people can choose educated, sincere, dedicated, transparent and deserving candidates as their political representatives