To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful?
Electoral reform is needed to conduct free and fair elections. The reform proposals are given by the Election Commission of India. It had sent 22 proposals in 2004 and in December 2016, again it had sent 47 proposals regarding the expenses of the election and election petitions, election campaign and the advertisements, and reforms of the political parties.
- Currently, the administrative expenditure of the Commission is considered as a voted expenditure. The Commission sent a recommendation that the expenditure of the Commission should be charged as non-votable expenditure on the Consolidated Fund of India like the other constitutional bodies i.e. Supreme Court, Comptroller & Auditor General, Union Public Service Commission.
- The Commission recommended having an independent Secretariat along the lines of both houses of parliament and Registries of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The commission will have the power to choose and appoint officials without any executive interference.
- The Commission proposes the amendment of section 20 of The Representation of the People Act, 1950 to extend the facility of the registration in the native constituency for the husband of the officeholder and service voter also, assuming that the husband is ordinarily residing with the female office at the duty place.
- The Commission recommended the inclusion of the words “Air Force Act, 1950 and the Navy Act, 1957” by replacing the Army Act, 1950.
- For the simplification of the preparation of electoral rolls and to reduce the expenditure, it proposed amendment of the State laws with respect to usage of electoral rolls of local bodies.
- It proposed the amendment of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to provide overseas electors, another option of proxy voting or postal ballot voting.
- It recommended the EVM totalizer system to count the votes of multiple booths.
- False statements or declaration before the Commission, Chief Electoral Officer, District Election Officer, Presiding Officer, or any other authority appointed under The Representation of the People Act, 1951, should be considered an electoral offence.
It recommended that the Persons charged with cognizable offences should be debarred from contesting in the elections for certain conditions.