Representation of People’s Act

While it is unrealistic to expect a Perfection in Politics in an Imperfect environment, it can’t be denied that politics ( and public figures) have a Profound impact on the Society. Hence, they have an extra responsibility to ensure that their conduct is Ethical  

NRIs voting through Proxies  

  • By designating a Proxy voter to vote on their behalf  
  • Under the section 20A which was introduced in the Amendment to RPA act, 2010  
  • Although still not started  
  • Benefits  
    • 2 crore NRIs  
    • Vibrancy  
    • Participative  
    • Political Empowerment of NRIs helps in increasing their attachment to the country  
    • It upholds the ideals of Equality of all Indians  
    • Could incentivise more participation in election from other people too and could improve Voter Turnout  
  • Challenges  
    • Proxy Voting may be misused by the Proxy agent  
    • It violates the spirit of Secrecy in elections  
    • Equality ( Article 14) is violated since, the inter-state migrants have no such opportuity to vote through proxy  
    • It opens the possibility of foreign countries meddling into national elections  
      • Eg Russia in USA 
    • NRIs may have a distorted view of the nation and their voting interests may not suit the interests of their constituency  
    • Election used to be an execuse for migrants to return to the country, With this terminated, it  
    could lead to More Perennial Brain Drain  
  • Some suggestions  
    • e-voting  
      • India citizens in Mahe vote in French elections  
    • Adhaar based voting system  

Influence of money power on electoral politics 

  • No cap on political parties’ expenditure 
    • Electoral spending by a candidate exceeds the stipulated limits  
      • National Commission for Review and Working of Cnstitution NCRWC has found that actual expense is 20-30 times the limit 
    • Case Study – MP minister  
      • EC disqualifies a candidate – and sitting minister – for wrongly filling of electoral expenditure  
      • Issue – speaker not passing order, matter related to previous election 
    • 2nd ARC – Large Electoral Expenditure and development of Crony Capitalism is one of the ROOT CAUSES of CORRUPTION in the country as elected representatives then indulge in corrupt practices to recoup their original investment  
  • Crony capitalism  
    • Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) study shows that 69% of funding comes from anonymous sources  
    • ADR – 89% of donations from Corporates  
    • Outside the ambit of RTI: Subhash Agarwal case SC said that political parties are under RTI. But they have kept themselves out by amending RTI. 
    • There is a provision of withdrawal of recognition of a political party in case of violation of accounting guidelines. However EC has never used such punitive powers. 
    • The Tax fillings by political parties go unscrutinised  
  • Disbursal of Money during elections  
    • TN – R K Nagar Bypolls cancelled by EC  
  • Richer candidates  
    • No of candidates with 1 crore as Assets rising – 80% now  
    • Parties give tickets based on the winnability of candidates -money plays an important role  
  • Use of money in RS Polls  
    • Jharkhand Polls – countermanded by RS  
  • Related issues  
    • Paid News  
  • There is a requirement of submission of expenditure accounts of a candidate 30 days after the result. However to cross check it, there is a need for continuous monitoring during the election time. 

Way forward 

  1. To reduce crony capitalism  
    1. State Funding of Elections  
      1. Pros  
        1. Reduces dependence on Crony Capitalism – reduces corruption  
        2. Transparency 
        3. Helps newer and more honest parties  
        4. Internal democracy within party improves – as no longer reliant on Richer candidates  
          1. See Oct 17 – 5  
        5. Purity in elections and public faith  
        6. Parties anyway enjoy tax exemptions  
      2. Cons  
        1. With existing measures, it would simply mean more funds to spend without improving transparency – Candidates can always spend more money on top of that  
        2. Fiscal costs – Diversion from other important productive works  
        3. A general public – Money being distributed amongst all parties – Regardless of whether he/she supports the party or not 
        4. Proliferation of more parties – Already only 1/3rd of Parties registered contest elections  
        5. Connect with the people – Connection between people and parties eveolve while funding in tune with democracy  
        6. Diversion of funds from development activities  
        7. Question of methodology – whether it should be on no of votes ( will favour status quo ) or fixed – proliferation  
        8. Spain, Austrailia – INEFFECTIVE in checking against Black money  
        9. NCRWC – Until the regulatory mechanisms are improved, govt should avoid State Funding of Elections  
    2. Anonymous income source should be capped to 20% as per EC recommendations  
      1. The current reduction in individual donation of 2k may simply mean more no of donors be used to get anonymous expenditures  
    3. Electoral Bonds transparency should be increased  
    1. Law commission  
      1. Firms declare in AGMs the contribution to political parties instead of in BoD as in Companies Act, 2013  
  1. TO reduce money use during elections  
    1. Totalizer Machines  
    2. Under Section 58 of RPA, Make abuse of money a ground to cancel polls
      1.  Currently such power can be used but only under Article 324. But EC uses it sparingly  
  1. Greater monitoring over asset and expenditure details filled  
    1. Action be taken against offenders as in MP recently  
  2. Rajya Sabha  
    1. Domicile requirements in RS be reintroduced  
      1. May simply move corruption to the home state 
      2. Instability of political parties – allows minister, CM another chance  
      3. However, domicile amendment was upheld by the SC In the Kuldip Nayar case  
    2. Have MCC for RS polls  

Changes introduced in this years Budget  

  • 20k cap for Anonymity reduced to 2k  
  • Introduction of Electoral Bonds  
  • 7.5% cap on Funding to political Parties ( of profits) under Companies Act, 2013 has been removed  
  • Exemption from paying Income Taxes – Subject to the condition that they file IT returns on time  

Freebies in elections are promised. 

 Supreme Court intervened in 2013 . Election commission added Section 8 to MCC 

  • Election manifesto should not contain anything against ideals of constitution and should be consistent with the spirit of the Model code of conduct. 
  • expected that manifestos are rational and adhere to wisdom of expenditure  
  • Issues 
    • MCC is not enforceable 
    • No body to check when its in realm of possibility  
    • It is not bribery as vote is not asked directly as quid pro quo. 
    • Democracy  
    • Cycles distribution have reduced drop out rates and these are implemented more transparently 
    • Helps poor people – since it is difficult for them to buy them in open market – eg Loan Waiver – Write Pros and cons of it  

Its impact 

  • Economy: Fiscal indiscipline, essential services compromised. 
  • Populist policies take over prudence in governance. 
  • Puts undue pressure on govt and non realisation the belief in femocracy declines  
  • Leads to growth of Pressure Groups with undue motives  

Criminalisation of election 

  • Vohra committee  pointed at the strong nexus between political parties and criminals to win elections  
  • 35% in 16th Lok Sabha have criminal cases against them. This figure has been rising as compared to 2004 and 2009 elections  
  • Hampers fair elections, erodes public confidence and lays grounds of use of corrupt means in and after elections  
  • Provisions  
    • RPA, 1951 – Provides for disqualification for a candidate convicted with a jail term of excess of 2 years  
    • Lily Thomas case 
      • Declared section 8(4) ultra vires ie illegal 
      • Section gave convicted members 3 months time to appeal in the HC  
      • Disqualification ceases until the case is settled  
    • MCC -Provide Pending cases at the time of filling election candidature  
    • NOTA 
      • Evolved by the SC in PUCL case  
      • Benefits – Fredom, Choice, Criminalisation, Money, Participation, Connection , Help in reducing Bogus votes  
      • Cons – Fiscal wastage, Inadequate results, May lead to votes being channeled  
    • RP act  
      • Case related to electoral offence be completed under 6 months  
      • However, as 2nd ARC observes, such  cases have continued for years, often extending beyond the 5 year mandate of the house. Thus, as time exceeds, the relavance and the utility of cases are nullified and this incentivises fresh rounds of electoral Offences  
      • Hence, 2nd ARC has recommended creation of Special Electonal Tribunals to ensure that the cases are solved within the 6 month time frame  
    • 12 special courts being set up  
      • To expedite within 1 year  
      • Issue  
        •  Why special treatment to only certain cases  
        • Pace may undermine Justice  
  • Measures required  
    • Institutional  
      • EC has proposed Permanent Disqualification for a candidate indulging in a crime punishable with Jail term of excess of 5 years by expanding the domain of section 8 of the RPA ( which already leads to disqualification on certain offences like Terrorism, Smuggling, SATI irrespective of the magnitude of Penalty)  
        • Only heinous crimes 
        • Case must be registered 1 year ago 
        • Fast TRACK courts to decide such petitions 
          • Counter – equality 
        • Counter 
          • 2nd ARC however says that the Right to Disqualify must be used Prudentially and Should not become as an instrument to silence the opposition 
          • Such Disqaulifications are a common feature of Dictatorial regimes not democracies  
          • Hence, a balance needs to be maintained  
          • It in fact says that the Section 8 of the RPA should be ammended to ensure that disqualifications are made only in the case of Heinous Crimes  
      • Power to EC to Countermanding of polls in case of Booth Capturing or Bribing – as done in RK Nagar Bypoll in Chennai  
      • EC independence  
    • Special Electoral Tribunal  
      • 2nd ARC  
    • Action against Sititng MLAs / MPs  
      • Rationalisation of Powers and privileges of sitting legislators  
        • Allows exemption from being jailed while house in session and 40 days before and after for civil offences  
    • Checking crime during elections  
      • Use of Totaliser Machines  
      • Security  
    • Voter awareness  
      • Social Media  
      • Active promotion about criminal details pending, served and waived off  

Why Crime growing in the country – 2nd ARC ? 

  • Laxities in investigation  
  • Judicial Delays  
  • Protection to Law Beakers in the name of caste, community, etc – Recent instance, where the death of a Rajput don in a police encounter led to huge violence by his community folks  
  • Meddling of Politicians in the Impartial Investigation  
  • Indiscriminate grant of Parole  
  • Poor qualities of services and Corruption  

Religion and politics 

  • Constitutional ethos: Right against discrimination, secularism 
  • S123(3)  of RPA prohibits vote appeal on grounds of religion, caste , race or language   (no Gender)  
  • SC 1995 verdict held that canvassing in the name of Hindutva is not electoral malpractice as it is a way of life. 
  • SC religion interpretation  
    • Reinterpretation of HIS in Sec 123 of RPA Act, 1951  – ABHIRAM Singh case  
    • The majority in the 7 bench – HIS refers not just that of the candidate but also to the voters expanding the ambit of the provision  
    • Election will be devlared bull and void if violated 
    • Benefits  
      • Secularism  
      • Election on basis of development issues  
      • Minority  
      • Vote Bank politics  
      • Fractures societal peace  
        • In past led to Partition after Muslim League performed poorly in elections  
    • Challenges  
      • Genuine cases related to religion will miss out  
      • Will curb raising voices and hurts Freedoom of Speech under Article 19 
      • Subjectivity remains in defining what constitutes appealing in the name of Religion  
      • A change should be initiated from the public / Legislature. The SC decision can be seen as a case of Judicial Overreach  
      • It Could Outlaw parties like Akali Dal whose title itself is religious in nature  
      • No review of Hindutva judgement 

Simultaneous elections of State Assemblies and Parliament 

  • Simultaneous eleections 
    • Pros -More elections – more populism ,  MCC less, Less diversion of public utilities, less noise – Benefit to environment, more focus on development rather than anything else, Burecaracy doesn’t rules the root, Net Cost saving  
    • Cons – Democrarcy spirit, State and central distinction – Empticically – same party vote which is against federal spirits ,  Generates jobs in the election process, What if state dissolution midway , requirements of public functionaries and appararus at the same time  
  • Trend  
    • The practice is not new. Elections were held simultaneously for 1951-52, 1957, 1962, 1967. 
    • As premature dissolution of assemblies has decreased after Bommai judgement and anti-defection law. 
  • Parliamentary panel recommendations 
    • Practicable solution is to hold elections in 2 phases; one at mid term of Lok Sabha and other at the end of its tenure. Assemblies can be clubbed in these 2 phases according to their term durations left 
    • Law commission – States whose elections within 6 months after Lok Sabha – Clubbed together   
    • Also requires restraint on use of Article 356  


  • Cons – Populism , Instability, First Past the Post –  Majority against, Costs of election, Chaos and agitations, Role of fake news,  International precedence as in California (special interests- lobbying) not always favourable  , Election Fatigue,  Law commission against, elected representatives focus on winning elections rather then legislative or executive duties  
  • Conclusion  
    • Cons Outweigh the pros 
    • May start on a pilot basis and based on the feedback  

Case for inclusion of political parties funds under RTI 

  1. SC – Subhas Agrawal Case – Parties under RTI  
  • Bringing Political Parties  
    • Benefits  
      • Public Bodies ?? 
        • Receive indirect public funding – Like slots on National Televisions, electoral rolls, etc  
        • Tax Benefits  
        • Have a huge say on MLAs, MPs ( Esp after 10th schedule) who are Included in the act  
      • Issues of Electoral malpractices  
      • Public right to know in order for a more directed vote  
      • 2nd ARC  
    • Against  
      • Electoral calculations may jeopardise the strategy  
      • Rivals may file RTI purposely to divert resources  
      • Private parties not involved  
      • Not a public body in the conservative sense – but is a voluntary organisation of people with common interests coming together – Applies more to smaller parties  
    • Way out  
      • Reduce the benefits – Tax exemptions, rolls, TV, etc  

Elections and media  

  • Exit Polls  
    • 2008 amendment banned Exit Poll before/during voting 
    • Benefits  
      • Frredom of Media, Freedom of Voters, Strategy of Parties, Incentivises candidates to focus on the Popular demands, Helps voters in determining who they vote for by focussing on the winnability of the candidates and forming a stable govt  
    • Cons  
      • Paid News, Selective polls parameters, Sensationalisation, Driving voter choice based on pre determined ideologies, Hurting the purity of election  
    • Way Out  
      • Independent Regulator to monitor Free and Fair Exit Polls  
        • SC – Cricket Association of Bengal case – Regulator for media  
      • Need to ammend RPA to impose temprary restrictions on such polls  
      • Duty of media Houses to reveal their poll parameters and ownership of media houses and linkages to parties 
      • Law Commission  
        • Payoing to Media and Payment by media be made Elctoral Offence  
        • –  48 hours restriction prior to an election was restricted to the electronic media now, the commission recommended such prohibition for the print media also. 

False Info  

  • Issues – Degree row  
  • May lead to rejection of Candidature  
  • As honourable SC  observed Voters have a Fundamental Right to know the Educational Qualification of a candidate  
  • 2nd ARC – needs to be made an Electoral Offence   
  • Anti Defection Law 
    • 10th schedule 
      • 52nd amendment, 1985 
    • Kihoto Hollohan  
    • Instances of legislators joining the ruling party without suspension  
      • Since, no time limit for Speaker to take a decision  
      • SC ruled that it can intervene only after Speaker takes decision  
      • Need to institutionalise the time  
    • Suggestions  
      • 2nd ARC – Prez be given power pn recommendations of EC  
      • Goswami Committee – Be used for cases of greater prominence such as No confidence motion and not for everyday resolutions. Otherwise, it promotes a centralisation tendancy  

Rigging in Rajya Sabha elections 

  • Issue – 
    •  cross party voting, money power, EC countermanding Jharkhand polls, Domicile , 
    • Open Ballot system  
      • Under Rules 39AA ( delhi – 200)   – voters ( MLAs) may show the marked ballot paper to a Party representative  
      • But, this can’t be shown to members of other party  – EC ( wide interpretation ) 
  • SC – Kuldip Nayar case upheld the Open Ballot system  
    • Indirectly, it made it mandatory for an MLA to vote for his/ her own party 
    • Also upheld th eDOmicile Principle  
  • Another Issue has come over the misuse of NOTA in RS elections by MLAs to indirectly Cross Vote for Another party and promotes Horse Trading  
    • Howeverm use of NOTA in RS elections has been upheld by the SC and EC  

Coalition Parties  

  • It has been seen that the coalition partners indulge in unethical practises such as Swissing sides driven by Political Opportunism , destabilise the existing govt, provide greater friction to the Development policies and exploit the instability to indulge in Malpractises like Corruption and Nepotism  
  • Hence, 2nd ARC says  
    • In Case, an Alliance partner switches sides, there is a need to call for Fresh Mandate and Fresh elections  
    • The coalition partners should agree on a Common Minimum Points and this needs to be made Public  
  • Counting of votes 
    • Currently, gives the trends of each polling area is available 
    • Is then used to harass the locals 
    • EC must not disclose this data  
      • Update 
      • Totaliser Machine 
      • Is likely to be installed to get a block figure rather than booth wise data 
      • Additional benefit- Use of money, chicken to woo could be reduced since there is no assurance whether people voted in their favour or not 

Right of Prisoners to Vote 

  • SC observed that a person in jail or Police custody ( convicted/ not ) can’t vote in an election  
  • Right to vote of prisoners: Merits/ Demerits 
    1. Purity of parliamentary democracy 
    2. India’s ban on prisoner voting is draconian in two respects. 
      1.  First, it makes no offence-based or sentence- based classification — prisoners are debarred from voting irrespective of the gravity of the offence that they have committed or the length of their sentence.  
      2. Second, the Indian statute (unlike its British counterpart) makes no distinction between convicted prisoners, undertrials, and those in lawful police custody. This means that those whom we presume innocent until proven guilty — and comprise more than 65 per cent of the prison population — are denied the right to vote. 
      3. Asymmetry between right to vote and right to be elected  

Compulsory Voting 

Law Commission Against terming it undemocratic, undesirable and not helping to improve political awareness and participation.  

Gujarat has introduced compulsory voting in local government elections 

Party in power benefits  

  • Advertisements 
    • Law commission – 
      • Restrict govt sponsored 6 months before  
      • New article in RPA itself to ban it  
    • SC 
      • Ban on Political Parties name, symbol, flags  
      • Ban on Photo of leaders except PM, Union Ministers, CJI, Governor, CM , Ministers ( added later)  
      • 3 membered panel  
        • Headed by people with Unimpeachable Neutrality and Impartiality  
        • To ensure that Exchequer’s money are not misused for partisan gains  
    • Recent  
      • Tandon committee found Delhi govt violating the spirit of the SC judgement to promote the interests of the party in power  
  • Transfer of officers before elections not be allowed till within 6 months of election – NCRWC 
  • Control over Election Commission  
    • Appointment  
    • EC depends on state for officers, police  
    • No Independent Secretariat  
    • Lesser protection to 2 other EC  
    • No restriction on association with govt post retirement – May promote collusive relationship  
    • Salary not charged on Consolidated Fund of India  

Office of Profit  

  • Issue 
    • Parliamentary Secretaries in Delhi – Also violates Article 164 – 15% ministers, ( 10% delhi) 
    • Delhi HC quashed their appoinntment  
  • What ? 
    • Not explicitly determined. But, based on SC judgements like the SANKARI PRASAD Case  broadly refers to any Position with  
      • Rebumerations attahed to it  
      • Power to sanction funds  
      • Govt has a say in appointment or removal  
  • Why ? 
    • Dilutes the Separation of Power  
    • And reduces the Checks and Balances  
    • Hence, it has been Outlawed by Article 102 of the counstituions and Article 191 ( + 89)  
  • Way Out  
    • 2nd ARC suggestions – Need for Objectification  
      • All bodies with Purely Advisory role should not be treated as An office of Profit, irrespective of the enumerations attached  
      • All bodies with EXECUTIVE functions, Control of FUNDS, deciding POLICY  as well should be seen as an Office of Profit  
      • If a minister is a part of another body where his/her presence is required to increase the Collaboration, then such an office should not be seen as Office of Profit 
      • Based on this 2nd ARC suggests that MPLADS funds be abolished  
        • Other issues – Oct 17 – 6 
    • British Model  
      • Designates every office every office of profit or not at the time of its creation itself  
  • Counter  
    • UC Raman case SC held that States have the juisdiction to define what is an office of Profit and are thus empowered to designate Parliamentary Secreatries as offices which do not fall under the criteria  
    • Not Ministers in letter because they are not appointed by the president / minister in the strictest of sense  

Election Commission  

  • Increase independence  
    • 2nd ARC – Appointment – PM, CJI, LoP, Deputy Chairman of RS  
    • Article 324 – Enabling Law to appoint EC 
      • Issue – No such law exists  
      • Which has led to Arbitariness in appointment of Ecs and accusation of a Spoils based system appointment have surfaced  
      • Recently SC also pointed to this lacunae  
    • The other 2 EC be given same powers as the CEC (Currently, they can’t be removed except the concurrence of CEC) 
    • 2nd ARC  – Defection power to President on recommendation of EC  
    • EC – Provide it the power to initiate Contempt Proceedings against unfound allegations  
      • Pro – Independence, Purity and Impartiality, Undue criticism ,  Kenya  
      • Cons – 19, 21, Abuse, Overarching Authority, Power of Media, Incompleteness without other reforms , Transparency , Public Body in spirit , Bihar case – where EC may also gp wrong   
    • Salary be charged from the Consolidated Fund of India like a SC judge  
  • Powers with EC 
    • Need to exand the domain of Sec 58 of RPA to enable EC to countermand polls in case Bribing is seen  
    • Current powers  
      • Order FIR 
      • Postpone the elections  
      • Countermand ( revoke the election order itself ) till further orders 
        • R K Nagar Bypolls in Tamil Nadu over bribery  
          • Also EC warned of 6 years diswaulification of a candidate in case candidates fill wrong asset info and 3 years for incomplete info  
        • EC used this tool in Jharkhand horse trading case in 2012.  
        • SC upheld it and hailed it as the most decisive action against corruption since independence 
  • Other Positive measures taken  
    • Computerisation of Voter ID cards 
    • Introduction of EVM  
    • Ease in Voter registration  
  • How much Immunity of Election Commission 
    • In Bihar, showcase notice served against Chief Electoral Officer ( CEO) for alleged negligence during the Kosi floods when he was principal sectary 
    • EC has asked to scrap showcause notice saying that all CEOs are under the jurisdiction of EC under rpi act 
    • Issue – independence vs justice, malafide vs bonafide intention of officers, appointment of EC members, Political Vendetta, steps to empower EC 
    • Similar issues in Manipur and EC had to interfere 
    • Way out – Lokpal  

 the Model Code of Conduct legally binding? 

The MCC is not enforceable by law.  However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951. 

Although as 2nd ARC observes, the use of Article 324 by the EC has made the MCC virtually binding in all respects 

The Election Commission has argued against making the MCC legally binding; stating that elections must be completed within a relatively short time (close to 45 days),  and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law. 

On the other hand, in 2013, the Parliament Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, recommended making the MCC legally binding.  Also called for lesser time between announcement of polls and poll date to reduce incidences of money, gift t lure voter  In a report on electoral reforms, the Standing Committee observed that most provisions of the MCC are already enforceable through corresponding provisions in other statutes, mentioned above.  It recommended that the MCC be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. 

Damage to Public property, Public nuisance during election campaigning  

  • Indrajit Committee – Law prescribing penalties and restrictions  
  • Candidates and parties – self responsibility to clean during a definite time period – As AAP did  
  • Make it a ground for election  
  • Increasing Public Participation, esp youths  
    • Compulsory Voting – ARC against  
    • Online booking system  
      • Will reduce lines  
      • And will augment declining middle and upper class participation  
    • Mission mode Social Media campaigns, National Debates as in US  
    • Incentives like half a day leave  
    • Multiple cut off dates for voter registration  
    • Merger of Adhaar and Voter Identity Cards  
      • Issue – Not a proof of citizenship  

Electoral reforms and issues at local level 

Common (ARC) 

  • Incomplete delimitation is cited as the reason for irregular elections. In many states, delimitation exercise is done by the state government. Hence SEC should be given the authority to undertake this exercise. 
    • Similar – rotation of seats on local bodies 
  • The State Election Commissione apointment – same as EC issue  
  • Greater coordination between ECI and the SECs 
    • Some states mandate SEC to make fresh electoral rolls. Streamlining the use of electoral rolls prepared by ECI for state elections. 

Education as a prerequisite in the Panchayat elections 

  • Issue 
    • For running as a candidate in the panchayat elections, Haryana govt legislated a minimum set of standards 
      • Education- 10th pass for generals, 8th for SC and women, 5th for SC women 
      • Has a toilet at home 
      • Has repaid the loans of cooperatives and electricity bills 
    • Has been used by Rajasthan govt in the past 
  • Court – Rajbala Case  
    • Power to vote (universal adult franchise ) is a constitutional right and is inviolable, but that to be elected to be office isn’t 
      • Although, Right to Vote is under Article 326 (Not a Fundamentak right ) 
      • Can’t check the arbitariness of the law (although has been done since Maneka case ) 
      • Hence, legislature is competent to make rules for getting elected 
    • Only  education gives the power to the human beings to differentiate between good and bad  
  • Benefit 
    • Sanctity of education and social reforms 
  • Challenges 
    • Over half of the candidates will be eliminated 
    • 42 lakh out of 96 lakh eligible voters eliminated 
    • Exclusion of the vulnerable 
      • 70% women and 40% of SC, ST would stand disqualified m 
    • State passing on its own failures  
      • Those candidates are getting excluded, to whom the state has failed to perfor 
    • Breeds corruption– Can be easily ‘managed’ by buying certificates 
      • 5000 case found  
    • Degree of education not synonymous to education 
      • In fact, by 73rd and 74th amendement Panchayat’s focus is on issues like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, shelter, etc 
      • Sidelining a few will give a myopic view on the issue 
    • A dalit woman can be under severe loan, because of unavoidable circumstances  
    • Inequality- Having the above criteria selects mostly the rich at the expense of poor 
    • Need for top->bottom precedence 
      • To be a governor, one just needs to be above 35 
      • For President, only additional criterion is to have a sound mind 
      • Needs to be the other way round, with the people at top setting examples 
    • Legal 
      • Article 243-F(1
        •  says disqualification  for an MLA and a panchayat member should be the same under the constitution and  Representation of People’s Act, 1951 
      • UN International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights 
        • India is a signatory  
        • A candidate can’t be excluded on discriminatory grounds such as education and residence  
      • Preamble – Political justice  
      • SC judgement 
        • In Naranswami case (1972)  
          • Education not synonymous to good governance  
        •  in 2002 
          • Union of India vs Association of Democratic Reforms 
          • No law can restrict a voter’s right to decide whether education or property is relavant in a leader  
    • Comparison 
      • British in India used such thresholds to dive suffrage to only 20% 
      • Pakistan has repeatedly used such cutoffs like only graduates being eligible to stand in the past 
      • But, both models failed 7 yet our democracy has passed the test of the times  

Code of Conduct for ministers  

  • Exists and Guides the conduct of ministers  
  • Are accountable to the PM and the CM  
  • Provisions  
    • No Business . Family can but only at the market rates . In case new Business by family, reveal the details to PM/ CM  
    • If any cheque by a acharitable body – Needs to imediately pass on  
    • No accept Valuable Gifts from Family and NO GIFTS from ANY PARTY HE HAS OFFICIAL DEALING with  
    • For other Gifts  
      • If gift is symbolic like a Sword of Honour- Accept it  
      • But if not symbolic then  
        • For a gift > 5k, Pass it on to the State TREASURY and he/ she can they buy by paying the value – 5k  
    • Awards 
      • Before taking, identify the credentials  
      • Accept if the credential is good, But REFUSE THE CASH PART  
      • Take Permission from Bosses  

For ministers, 2nd ARC recommends a code of ethics  

  • Provisions  
    • Separate constituency and ministry, SUBORDINATE private interests to Public Interests  
    • Must accept responsibility for decisions and should not blame the advice giver  
  • Recommendation  
    • Put Code of Conduct in the Public Domain  

For legislators  

  • ETHICS Commissioner in each house to ASSIST members in ensuring that they follow the Code of Ethics  
  • Exists in Canada  

RPA Act  

  • Based on Article 327 of the constitution which empowers the parliament to create laws to regulate elections  
  • What it covers? 
    • Election to parliament and state legislatures 
    • Qualification 
      • Must be registered as a voter from A parliamentary constituency – 1951 
      •  After amenment in 2003, no longer required to member of the state from which running for Rajya Sabha ( Manmohan Singh- Assam )N  
      • Only SC/ST for reserved seats although SC, ST can run from any seats  
    • Disqualification of members 
      • Sentenced to imprisonment of over 2 years  – 1951 
        • Preventive detention not counted 
        • Lily Thomas case 
          • Declared section 8(4) ultra vires ie illegal 
          • Section gave convicted members 3 months time to appeal in the HC  
          • Disqualification ceases until the case is settled  
      • Caught in election related offences, Interested in givt contracts, Office of profit in the government,  Fails to register electoral offences, Suspended from govt service for corruption or disloyalty to state , Unsound mind, discharged insolvent  
    • Qualification of voters  
      • Right to Vote – 1951  
      • Says the voter may be Ordinarily a RESIDENT of the constituency 
        • This denies voting rights to NRIs and migrant workers 
        • Soldiers, officials on election duty taken care by postal ballot  
      • Person in jail can’t vote- not for preventive detention  
    • Cancellation of election – 1988 
      • If both capturing or tampering of machines found 
      • Decision lies with EC  
    • Others – Delimitation , Registration of political parties, Election commission decision is final and binding – 1951  
  • After the amendment in 1966, power to decide election petition 
    • With HC and then with SC 
    • SC directly in case of President, Vice President 
    • Before 1966, there used to an election tribunal  
      • Tribunal appointed by govt having bureaucrats – can lead to favouritism 

Election Laws Amenedment Bill, 2016 

  • Takes cae of the effect of LBA with Bangladesh  


  • Pro 
    • Democracy 
    • Referendum in N Ireland brokered peace  
    • Scotland – unification and economic welfare  
    • Credibility , Purity  
  • Con  
    • Uninformed citizens 
      • Easily misguided 
      • BREXIT, Colombia FARC deal  
    • Shortcuts to hard answers 
      • Yes or No  
    • Logistical Issues  
    • Majoritarianism  
    • Leaders resort to solidify own position  
      • David Cameroon – Brexit – to silent dissent  
      • Boomerang though  
      • This is antithetical to democracy  


  • National Party now based on 2 elections result to induce more stability 
    • Benefits – Symbol, Recognition, National Channels, Electoral rolls  
  • VVPAT  
    • Subramanium Swamy Case  
    • Another layer of accountability  
    • Voters to verify  
Scroll to Top