Even today, if we search, we can find many flaws in the election process. There is such a situation when many election reforms have been made according to the time and need,
That is why we cannot consider electoral reforms as such that once we have made reforms and then the work is over. Rather, it needs to be seen as a continuous process.
In this article, we will discuss the election reform in India in a simple and easy way and understand its various important aspects. So read this article till the end;
You can read all election based articles from here – Basics of Election . Join our facebook group and subscribe our youtube channel also; links are given below.
Electoral reform in India
Electoral Reform Committees and Commissions
Various committees and commissions have examined our election system and electoral machinery as well as the election process and suggested improvements. These committees and commissions are as follows:
1. Tarkunde Committee (1974-1975) was formed by Jayaprakash Narayan on behalf of the independent organization ‘Citizens of Democracy’ for electoral reforms. That is, it was a non-governmental committee. The most important recommendation of this committee was that there should be a law under which all recognized political parties should give full account of their accounts, sources of income and details of expenditure. If there is any discrepancy in the account, then it should be considered as a punishable offence.
2. Dinesh Goswami Committee on Electoral Reforms (Year 1990) – Many of the recommendations of this committee were implemented in 1996, it is discussed further.
3. Vohra Committee on Criminalization of Politics (Year 1993)
4. Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Financing in Elections (Year 1998)
5. Law Commission Report on Electoral Reforms (Year 1999)
6. Election Commission Report on Electoral Reforms (Year 2004)
7. Veerappa Moily Committee on Ethics in Governance (2007)
8. Tankha Committee on Election Laws and Electoral Reforms (Year 2010)
classification of electoral reforms
Based on the recommendations of the above committees and commissions, many reforms have been made in the election system, election machinery and election process. For the convenience of study, it is divided into two parts. (1) Electoral reform in India before 2000 and (2) Electoral reform in India after 2000
(1) Electoral Reforms before 2000
Decrease voting age: Through the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act of 1988, the voting age in elections to the Lok Sabha as well as the Legislative Assemblies was reduced from 21 years to 18 years. It was recommended by the Tarkunde committee, which was implemented by the Rajiv Gandhi government.
Increase in the number of proposers in the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections: In 1977, the number of proposers and supporting electors to contest the Presidential election was increased to 50 (from 10 earlier). Similarly, for the post of Vice-President, this number was increased to 20 (from 5 earlier). Simultaneously, the security amount was increased from Rs 2500 to Rs 15000.
Increase in the number of proposers: In 1988, the number of electors who signed nomination papers as proposers for the elections to the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils of the States was increased to ten percent of the total electors of the constituency or ten such electors (whichever is less). This was done to prevent wasteful candidates from contesting the elections.
Electronic Voting Machine: Although it was used during the Kerala General Election in 1982 but there was no proper law regarding its use. That is why in 1989, it was given legal form by amending the Representation of the People Act, 1951. It is discussed in section 61A of this Act.
Apart from this, the Dinesh Goswami Committee also said in its recommendation that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) should be used in all elections. As a result, EVMs were used across the state for the first time in the 1999 Goa Legislative Assembly elections.
Booth capture: In 1989, a provision was made to postpone or cancel the election on booth capture. This was also inserted by amending the Representation of the People Act, 1951. It is discussed in section 58A of this Act.
Voter’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC): It was decided by the Election Commission in the year 1993 to issue Photo Identity Cards to voters across the country to prevent bogus voters and the practice of voting for anyone in elections.
Normally on 1st January of every year the voter list is updated and the name of the public who has attained the age of 18 by that time is added to this list and is provided with a voter’s photo identity card.
| In 1990 The National Front government led by V.P. Singh constituted the Election Reform Committee under the chairmanship of the then Law Minister Dinesh Goswami . The committee was asked to study the electoral system in detail and give its suggestions to remove the shortcomings of the system. The committee gave its report in 1990 itself and made several suggestions for electoral reforms. Some of these recommendations were implemented in 1996.
Listing of Names of Candidates – The contesting candidates will be divided into three categories for shortlisting the names of the candidates. these are classes
(1) candidates of recognized political parties,
(2) candidates of registered unrecognized political parties, and;
(3) Other (Independent) candidates.
The list of contesting candidates and their names in the ballot paper will be in the above order separately and the names of all the categories will be arranged in alphabetical order.
Law of disqualification for disrespecting national pride – A person convicted under the Prevention of Insults to National Pride Act 1971 pdf for the following offenses shall be disqualified to contest elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assembly for six years:
(1) offense of disrespecting the national flag
(2) the offense of disrespecting the Constitution of India, and;
(3) The offense of preventing the singing of the national anthem.
Prohibition on sale of liquor – No liquor or intoxicating drink of any kind shall be sold or distributed in any shop, eatery, hotel or any public or private place in the area of the polling station till 48 hours before the end of the voting period. Any person violating this law shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs.2000, or with both.
Number of proposers – If the person contesting the election of Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha is not a candidate of a recognized political party, then his nomination paper should have the signature of ten registered voters of the area as a proposer. If the candidate belongs to a recognized party, only one proposer will be required. This was done to prevent vain people from contesting elections.
Candidate’s death – If a contesting candidate dies before voting, the election was first canceled and after that the election process was started again in that area. But now the election is not canceled if a candidate contesting the election dies before voting. However, in the event of the death of a candidate of a recognized political party, that party is given the option to field another candidate within seven days.
Deadline for bye-elections – Bye-elections have to be held within six months of the occurrence of a seat in either House of Parliament or State Legislature. But this provision does not apply in two cases:
(1) the term of the member whose vacancy is to be filled is less than one year, or
(2) when the Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government, has Verify that it is difficult to hold bye-elections within the stipulated period.
Prohibition of arms – Going around a polling station with any kind of weapon is a cognizable offence . Doing so can be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Reduction in election campaign period – The minimum interval between the last date for withdrawal of nominations and the date of voting has been reduced from 20 days to 14 days.
Calling employees for election duty – In 1998 it was arranged that employees of local government, nationalized banks, universities, life insurance corporations, public undertakings, and other government aided institutions were called to be posted on election duty.
Voting through postal ballot – In 1999, arrangements were made for certain types of voters to vote through postal ballot. The Election Commission decides together with the government to whom this facility is to be given.
(2) Electoral reforms after 2000
Facility to vote through proxy: In 2003 , the option of voting through proxy was made available to voters serving in the Armed Forces and those serving in the Armed Forces where the Army Act is in force. That is, he will have to appoint someone else to cast his vote on his behalf and inform the election officer of his constituency.
Freedom to receive donations to political parties: In 2003, political parties were given the freedom to accept any amount from any person or company other than a government company. Now to claim income tax relief, they will have to inform the Election Commission of every donation above Rs 20,000. Along with this, the company will also get exemption from income tax on the amount given as donation.
Introduction of Braille script in EVMs: The Commission has received representations from various associations of visually impaired voters for introduction of Braille written EVMs to facilitate them to vote without any assistant. In the year 2005, it was attempted in one assembly constituency during the elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Bihar, Jharkhand and Haryana.
Time limit for filing a case for disqualification: In order to disqualify a person found guilty of adopting corrupt practices in 2009, time has been given to the authorized officer to present his case to the President within three months.
Increase in the amount of security: The amount of security to be deposited by the candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 has been increased from 10 thousand to 25 thousand for general category candidates and from five thousand to twelve thousand rupees for SC / ST candidates.
Similarly, the security deposit of general category candidates contesting the state assembly elections was increased from five thousand to ten thousand rupees and for Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe candidates from two and a half thousand to five thousand rupees. This was done to prevent the increase in the number of non-serious candidates.
Right to vote for Indians living abroad : In 2010, a provision was made to provide the right to vote to Indians living abroad for various reasons. According to this, every citizen of India-
(1) whose name is not included in the electoral roll,
(2) who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country, and
(3) Who has been abroad for employment, education or any other reason instead of his usual residence in India. Can enroll his/her name in the electoral roll of his/her Parliamentary/Assembly constituency (as mentioned in his/her passport).
Online Enrollment in Electoral Roll: In the year 2013, a provision was made for online filing for enrollment in Electoral Roll. Here I am giving two links, with the help of which you can apply online for enrollment in voter list. Link 1 – https://voterportal.eci.gov.in/ Link 2 – National Voter Service Portal
Introduction of NOTA option: As per the directions of the Supreme Court, the Election Commission has made a provision for ‘None of the above ‘ i.e. None of the above in the voter papers/EVM machines so that the voters coming up to the polling station stand in the election. Those who have decided not to elect any of the candidates, may exercise their right not to vote for such candidates while maintaining the secrecy of their voting.
The provision for NOTA has been implemented since the general elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Rajasthan in 2013. and continued in the state legislative assembly elections of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim in the year 2014 with general elections to the Sixteenth Lok Sabha (2014).
If the number of voters who voted in favor of NOTA is more than the number of votes polled by any candidate, the candidate who gets the maximum number of votes will be declared elected.
Introduction of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT): VVPAT is an independent system attached to EVMs that allows voters to verify that their vote has been cast for the candidate for whom they voted.
Immediate disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs effective: In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the accused MPs and MLAs on conviction of the offense should be immediately removed from the membership of Parliament or Legislative Assembly without giving three months’ notice for appeal. effect will be disqualified.
In fact, in sub-section 4 of Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, it is written that on the conviction of an MP or MLA, he cannot be disqualified until three months have elapsed from the date of conviction. You have gone In this three months, he can appeal in the court and can also get the case cleared. That is why the court gave the above ruling.
Along with this, the bench also said, “It is abundantly clear from the two provisions of Article 102 and Article 191 of the Constitution that the disqualification of a person from being elected as a member of any House of Parliament or Legislative Assembly and for becoming a member Only one law has to be made.
That is, Parliament does not have the power under Article 102 and 191 to make separate laws with respect to disqualification of a person from being elected as a member of Parliament or Legislative Assembly and disqualifying a person from being a member of Parliament or Legislative Assembly. .
Election expenditure limit increased: In 2014, the central government increased the spending limit for Lok Sabha elections in large states to Rs. 70 lakh (earlier Rs. 40 lakh). In other states and union territories, this limit is Rs. 50 lakh (earlier Rs 6-40 lakh). Similarly, in large states, the election expenditure for assembly seats has been increased from Rs.6 lakh to Rs.28 lakh, while for other states and union territories, this limit has been increased from Rs.20 lakh (earlier Rs.8-6 lakh).
Photo of candidates on EVMs and ballot papers: According to an order of the Election Commission, in any election to be held after May 1, 2015, photographs, names and party symbols of the candidates will be published on the EVMs and ballot papers so that the confusion of the voters can be resolved. Six by-elections were held in five states in June 2015, in which photographs of candidates were used on ballot papers for the first time.
Here are some important electoral reforms that have happened so far, for better understanding, must read other articles related to elections as well.