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Key Takeaways

  • The electoral process and the election system form the base for a strong constitutional foundation. The free and fair elections are fundamental basis for success of democracy.
  • Electoral reforms refer to introduction of best practices in ensuring better responsible parliamentary democracy, removal of structural flaws, clean politics, honest politicians, maintain citizen’s trust, true representation and so on.
  • There are several issues faced by the current electoral system in India like criminalisation of the candidates, misuse of the machinery, power of money and muscle, lack of efficiency, etc.
  • ECI has introduced voter lists with photo to prevent bogus voting in elections. ECI has proposed linking Aadhar with voter identity card to clean up electoral rolls. It has also proposed making paid news and filing of false affidavit a corrupt practice with punishment of 2 years imprisonment.
  • These issues need to be catered and solutions in the form of reforms need to be bought, Elections take place every few years. The health of democracy lies in the hands on the very citizens.

Introduction

After being ruled for nearly 200 years by the Britishers, India attained freedom in 1947. Imperialism changed to rule of the people. India become a democratic country. Fundamental rights, duties, equality became the core value of our constitution. It is the rule of BY the people OF the people and FOR the people The electoral process and the election system form the base for a strong constitutional foundation. The free and fair elections are fundamental basis for success of democracy. Citizen’s participation in the political system brings about the best for the nation. Electoral system is an imperative instrument to make the parliamentary democracy work. Every 5 years free and fair elections are held in India. With changing time and changing needs, reforming these laws becomes extremely crucial so that they are flaw free. Parliamentary democracy gives rights to its citizens to choose the political leaders who in turn will run the nation. The constitution gives each citizen the sovereign power to select or remove the leaders they choose. This is a huge responsibility dealing with the future of the country. Indian citizens choose the legitimacy of the of the democratic parliament by their votes. India follows the first past the post electoral system which is found to have many structural flaws, therefore electoral reforms are necessary to functioning of parliamentary democracy in India. In this regard, the election Commission, the high courts, the Supreme Court, etc all work together for electoral reforms.

Need for reforms

  • In parliamentary democracy, representation is linked with elections at regular levels.
  • Elections are used to form a government, change the ruling party, or any other function used to represent the voting mechanism.
  • But only elections are not a criterion to fulfil the aspirations of people. Free and fair elections are necessary for healthy democracy.
  • Electoral reforms refer to introduction of best practices in ensuring better responsible parliamentary democracy, removal of structural flaws, clean politics, honest politicians, maintain citizen’s trust, true representation and so on.
  • Indian constitution’s article 324 -329 deals with the elections and electoral reforms.
  • A simple voting can help in removal of criminalization of politics com upholding the secrecy of voters, secure free and fair elections, fair registration, and recognition of political parties the solution of delisting of voters, etc.
  • The need for electoral reforms has also been felt mainly to fulfil the aspirations of young generation, prohibit any undue advantage of politics, and discourage the muscles and money power.
  • One of the most demanded reforms is that of political finance. Recent disclosures on electoral bonds raise questions.
  • India, being the largest democracy in the world, requires an ideal voting mechanism which is transparent, well authorised and citizen friendly.
  • The increased corruption to buy the vote of the citizens illegally, to falsely use religion and caste to garner the faith of the citizens must be stopped.

Issues And challenges faced in the electoral system

  • Practical part - the elections are practical form of parliamentary democracy. Elections cover every part of the electoral system.
  • Criminalisation - the criminalization of politics is a serious threat to healthy functioning of a democracy. Of the 543 elected Lok Sabha members 233 have criminal charges. This raises a question of the future leaders that can be foreseen. Most of them have criminal charges for heinous crimes like rape, murder, attacking women’s modesty, etc. Becoming a part of the political parties shields them from the punishment and become a part of the rule making process of the Lok Sabha.
  • Money laundering - The electoral bonds are available in State Bank of India for purchase. The beneficiary political parties are not required to reveal the identity of donors. Thus, the electoral bonds are not transparent in nature. The government can take advantage from the political parties because electoral bonds are in government owned SBI. It has made corruption official because of absence of disclose of identity of donors. the electoral bonds scheme resulted in money laundering.
  • Misuse of machinery – misuse of government machinery is a major challenge before the electoral reforms. Machinery can be used for various purposes by the ruling party for campaigning, surveying, making alliance, etc. misuse of government machinery leads to the abuse of state funding.
  • Religion and caste - the politics of communalism cast, and religious fundamentalism poses serious threat to democracy. India is the country of innumerable languages, dialects, religions, castes. It is also one of the most sensitive topics of the nation. Taking undue advantage of seeing one religion and caste superior to the other not only arouses unnecessary hate but is also a false way to garner the votes of the citizens.
  • Paid News - Paid news is a serious issue for electoral reforms. according to the press council report, paid news is any news or analysis appearing in any media for cash or kind as consideration. The election Commission of India found 120 cases of paid news during 17th Lok Sabha election in 2019.
  • Opinion poll - It has raised questions to the right of free and fair election. Opinion poll confuses the voters. It is against the right to freedom of speech and expression granted in our constitution.
  • Moral Values - people think the political democracy is the means of business, making money and ruling for influence and power has become the basic assumption. Until that will change, we cannot have a political stability.

Overview

Indian parliamentary system stands as a model for many emerging democracies around the world. Electoral reforms include recuperation of the existing systems to enhance and increase the efficiency of the same. The process of electoral reforms is successful only when there is coordination among the electoral machinery, the political parties, the candidates, and electorate at all levels. The current electoral reforms are unsatisfactory. In the recent time, the constitutional provision of anti-defection law has lost its legitimacy. The role of Election Commission of India in conducting free and fair elections has become more crucial for the consolidation of India's democracy. Amongst the reforms taken so far, the election Commission of India has effectively enforced model code of conduct during election process till 2014. But implementation of model code of conduct during elections gradually has been dependent on the will of the CEC. ECI has introduced voter lists with photo to prevent bogus voting in elections. ECI has proposed linking Aadhar with voter identity card to clean up electoral rolls. it has also proposed making paid news and filing of false affidavit a corrupt practice with punishment of 2 years imprisonment. Presently, conviction is an electoral offense and the ground for disqualification. It has demanded powers to deregister a party on the ground of poll violation rules. Given the order in 2018 that candidates now must declare the source of income along with their income. In this judgment the apex court had asked the candidates while filling their nomination papers to declare their assets and the assets of their spouse children or other dependents.

Conclusion

The largest democracy in the world requires a successful electoral system. Free and fair, transparent, and flawless, no corruption and learned candidates are the basic needs of this electoral system. For that the apparent guidelines for the electoral system need to be reformed. This article has mentioned a list of issues and challenges that India yet faces in the voting system. These issues need to be catered and solutions in the form of reforms need to be bought, Elections take place every few years. The health of democracy lies in the hands on the very citizens.

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE


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