By Categories: Editorials, Polity

Electoral Reforms

Important Recommendations by Election Commission:-

  • Independent Secretariat for the Commission
  • Budget of the Commission to be ‘charged’ as in the case of the Budget of Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the Union Public Service Commission
  • Amendment of law to restore cycle of biennial retirement in Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils- The Constitutional provisions envisage that 1/3rd of the members of Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils shall retire after every two years. However, in some states, the biennial retirement cycle has broken with the result that in some states all the members retire at the same time.
  • Amendment to Rules to provide for use of Totalizer for counting of votes – As per the present rules, votes in the EVMs are to be counted polling station wise, which leads to situations where voting pattern in various localities/pockets become known to everyone. There is a view that this can result in victimization and/or discrimination and intimidation of electors of particular localities. To address this issue, at the instance of the Commission, the manufacturing firms of EVMs have developed a device called “Totalizer” which can be used for taking out the results of voting in a group of 14 EVMs without revealing the votes in individual EVMs. For using Totalizer for counting, the rules need to be amended.
  • Multiple qualifying dates for enrolment in electoral roll – As per the existing provisions of the Law, only a person who completes 18 years of age as on 1st January of the year is eligible to be enrolled in the electoral roll for that year. A person turning 18 after 1st January has to wait till the next year for getting enrolled. The Commission proposed that instead of only one qualifying date for enrolment, there should be 4 different dates (1st January, 1st April, 1st July and 1st October) for enrolment so that maximum number of people can be enrolled.
  • Constitutional protection for all members of the Commission and independent Secretariat for the Commission – In 1998, the Commission had proposed that the Constitutional protection provided to the Chief Election Commissioner should be provided to the Election Commissioners also as the protection envisaged is for the Institution and not for individuals. The Commission has reiterated the proposal on subsequent occasions.
  • Electoral Trust :Under the present law electoral trusts can possible raise funds from foreign sources because they are not expressly prohibited under law. ECI has recommended to the Finance and Law Ministries to make specific law prohibiting electoral trusts accepting funds from foreign sources so that they can not able to transfer the funds to the political parties.

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