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Bill on electoral reforms to be tabled in parliament soon

india Updated: Nov 26, 2011 23:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The bill for amendment in electoral laws paving way for electoral reforms will be tabled in the parliament soon. The central government has constituted a committee of group of ministers to submit report over state funding of the election.

Speaking at the HT conclave the secretary, legal department in Ministry of Law and Justice, VK Bhasin on Saturday said, "to invite consultation from the public and political parties over electoral reforms the ministry of law and justice organized seven regional consultations across the country. The final convention will be organized at New Delhi soon".

Bhasin said, "the committee on electoral reform constituted by the Ministry of Law and Justice would recommend to the central government the concrete ways in which our electoral system can be strengthened. The central government would table the bill for electoral reform in the parliament.

"The focus of the amendment bill would be to check the criminalization of politics. Various committees and commissions have made recommendations to check the entry of criminals into politics. The section 8 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 provides for disqualification of the candidates from contesting election for a period of six years from the date of conviction. The sub section (3) provides that any candidate convicted for a crime for which the minimum imprisonment is two years should be disqualified from the date of conviction and continues to be disqualified for six additional years", he said.

Bhasin said "Election commission proposed in its 2004 report that section 8 of he Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 should be amended to disqualify the candidates accused of an offence punishable by imprisonment of 5 years or more even when trial is pending, given that the court has framed charges against the person. To prevent misuse the election commission suggested a compromise whereas only cases filed prior to six months before an election would lead to disqualification. Demand has also been raised for amendment in Peoples representation act to include the rules that are not covered under the act".

Over state funding of the election Bhasin said the Ministry of Law and Justice was deliberating over the issue to fund the whole election campaign or make partial funding only. Should the candidates belonging to schedule caste or schedule tribe or women candidate be funded? In the case of government funding the audit of the election expenditure by CAG should also be made compulsory. To check the flow of black money the political parties have been directed to open election expenditure account in nationalized banks. The UID number of the fund donors should be also mentioned to know the flow of money.

Though social activist Anna Hazare has raised the demand for right to recall but Bhasin expressed reservation over the issue. He said in federal system the right to recall has several reservations. It would destabilize the government and might make adverse impact on economy.