FAIRNESS AT PLAY
Introducing electoral reforms to reduce the influence of money and muscle power in politics FAST FACTS 33% of candidates who declared assets more than INR 5 crore, won in 2009.i 2009 Lok Sabha Poll estimated spending (nearly INR 10,000 crore) is higher than the 2008 US Presidential Elections (nearly INR 8,000 crore).ii The cost of conducting 2004 elections was 125 times1 greater than that of 1952.iii 162 MPs elected in 2009 have criminal cases against them; 26% increase from 2004.
OVERVIEW Free and fair elections form the foundation of any healthy democracy. Electoral reforms aim to strengthen the system by bringing in changes to the existing set-up. Elections in India have been plagued by issues related to criminalization of politics and abuse of money and power. Since unaccounted money forms a large part of election financing, requisite electoral reforms can play an important role to weed out corruption. Lack of credibility deters people from participating in electoral processes and on a macro-level hampers economic, social and administrative capabilities. Amongst the MPs elected in 2009, 162 had 522 criminal cases pending against them of which 76 were serious cases. Some MPs have also been involved with the mafia, using muscle power to tilt the voting count in their favour. A recent Supreme Court verdict deemed unconstitutional Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act. The act gave chargesheeted members of Parliament three months of time to file an appeal to a higher court after conviction. According to the recent order, convicted MPs will be immediately disqualified from their position as a member of the house.iv The order is being currently analyzed by the law ministry. In terms of campaign finance, the election commission prescribes the maximum limit allowed under election expenditure (Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961). v Currently, each 1
Symbolizes money spent by GOI to conduct elections. The...
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