Electoral Reforms paved the way to Constitutionalism in India

The concept of constitutionalism is that of a polity governed by or under a constitution that ordains essentially limited government and rule of law as opposed to arbitrary authoritarian or totalitarian rule. Constitutional government, therefore, should necessarily be democratic government, and for democracy election process is the significant feature. For the success of democracy it is necessary that people maintain their fidelity towards the democratic institutions based on rule of law which could only be possible through free and fair elections. By the experience of last 15 general elections, minor reforms have been enacted, instead of that the election process is beset with many evils in the form 4Cs that are- Criminalization, Corruption, Communalism and Casteism. Criminalization of politics in India is today a sad reality. According to Association of democratic Reforms (ADR), the track record of 15th Lok Sabha and State legislatures are startling and staggering. There are 162 out of 545 lok sabha and 1258 out of 4032 sitting MLAs have been charged with serious criminal charges such as Murder, Rape and Dacoity.

So, In order to restore the faith in democracy the constitutional body of Election Commission has consistently undertaken certain electoral reforms which it could take on its own as well as at the direction of the Supreme Court. Such as- Amendment in Representation of peoples Act,1951 by facilitating the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), First past the post (FPTP) electoral system has been replaced by ballot system, Right to Reject introduced in the form of None of the Above Option in EVMs as per rule 49-0 of Conduct of the election rules,1961, Right to Recall is proposed to make India as a “Home of democracy” etc. No doubt these reforms are remarkable to show the positive trends in the field of democracy. Abraham Lincoln said that, “The ballot is stronger than the bullet”. Alfred E.Smith said that, “The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy”. According to Douglas Greenberg, Constitutionalism is a commitment to limitations on ordinary political power, it revolves around a political process, one that overlaps with democracy in seeking to balance state power and individual and collective rights, it draws on particular cultural and historical contexts from which it emanates and it resides in public consciousness. This definition shows the peculiar feature of the philosophy that it flourishes a situation in a particular state which fulfills the objectives of the constitutional law. In Indian context, democracy is one of the main objectives of the state.

Hence, After being analyzed the pros and cons specifically of Right to Reject and Right to Recall in the election process, granting of Right to reject is a balanced option, it is safer and it would not lead to constant political upheaval.  All these reforms shows the transparency and accountability towards the sovereign power vests in the People of India enshrined in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution which boost the spirit of Constitutionalism in India to a certain extent.

* Preeti Goyal

Student of LL.M.(IVth Semester) Branch- Constitutional Law

Mangalayatan University, Aligarh


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