Skip to main content

Modi govt rejected anti-graft law plea thrice; Election Commission seized Rs 350 crore in recent assembly polls

By Our Representative
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr Nasim Ahmad Zaidi has revealed that. despite noteban, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had seized over Rs 350 crore during the recently concluded five state assembly elections, which is “three times higher than what was seized in the 2012 assembly elections”, though adding, this is only “tip of the iceberg.”
Regretting sharp rise in money power in elections, Dr Zaidi, who was addressing the 13th Annual National Conference on Electoral and Political Reforms, organized by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), at Punjab University, Chandigarh, said, “We should formulate a strong anti-bribery law or legal framework”, and ensure its “strict enforcement” on the ground.”
Stressing on the need for inculcating “ethical voting practices”, Dr Zaidi said that the ECI has made recommendations to the Law Ministry to amend the Representative of People (RP) Act by inserting a new section 58B, “which would empower the Commission to countermand elections based on credible evidence relating to widespread bribery”.
However, he regretted, the law ministry of the Narendra Modi government rejected the proposal thrice over the last one year. Yet, he said, the he ECI would push the proposal in the same on lines of Section 58 of RP Act, which deals with countermanding of elections due to booth capturing.
“The CEC has proposed that bribing of voters should also be made a cognizable offence”, Dr Zaidi said, addding, ”The CEC observed that there has been steep rise in the assets of the candidates seeking re-election and that the electors have every right to know the causes behind this sharp increase in assets.”
Expressing concern over the way the way electoral reforms were introduced by the government, Dr Zaidi said, “By not reducing the limit of anonymity from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2000, the transparency has not been brought about”, calling contributions made in the form of “electoral bonds” as a “retrograde step”, as they “would not be a part of the contributions report of the political parties.”
“The ECI has also recommended the amendment of Form 26, where they would be required to add a column for declaring the details of sources of income of candidates and their spouses”, he said, adding, “Multi-dimensional approach needs to be taken to curb the misuse of money power in elections.”
Already, Dr. Zaidi said, the ECI has taken several steps to ensure “transparency in declaration by candidates on any disqualifications at the time of their nominations”, adding, “The ECI has amended the rules to include declaration of disqualifications in nomination forms as mandatory.”
He said, “This includes holding of office of profit, insolvency, allegiance to a foreign country and any disqualifications incurred under Section 8A of RP Act. This also includes grounds of corruption and, most importantly, any substantive contracts with the government which the candidate might not have disclosed at the time of filing their nomination papers.”
Dr. Zaidi said, political parties under the current legal framework are loosely governed, be it registration, funding, expenditure etc. Regarding election financing, he said that it should rest on four pillars. 1) Laying down the expenditure limit of candidates and also of political parties, 2) Disclosure requirements for more transparency, 3) Compliance of disclosure requirements and 4) Penalties for non- adherence.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

BSF should take full responsibility for death of 4 kids in West Bengal: Rights defender

By Kirity Roy*  One is deeply disturbed and appalled by the callous trench-digging by BSF in Chetnagachh village under Daspara Gram Panchayat, Chopra, North Dinajpur District, West Bengal that has claimed the lives of four children. Along the entire stretch of Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal instead of guarding the actual border delineated by the international border pillars, BSF builds fences and digs trenches well inside the Indian territory, passing through villages and encroaching on private lands, often without due clearance or consent. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

How GMOs would destroy non-GMO crops: Aruna Rodrigues' key submissions in SC

Counterview Desk The introduction of Bt and HT crops will harm the health of 1 billion Indians and their animals, believes Aruna Rodrigues, who has made some 60 submissions to the Supreme Court (SC) during the last 20 years. As lead petitioner who filed Public Interest Litigation in 2005, during a spate of intense hearings, which ended on 18 January 2024, she fought in the Apex Court to prevent the commercialization of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture. 

Social justice day amidst 'official neglect' of salt pan workers in Little Rann of Kutch

By Prerana Pamkar*  In India’s struggle for Independence, the Salt Satyagraha stands as a landmark movement and a powerful symbol of nonviolent resistance. Led by Mahatma Gandhi, countless determined citizens walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in Gujarat. However, the Gujarat which witnessed the power of the common Indian during the freedom struggle is now in the throes of another significant movement: this time it is seeking to free salt pan workers from untenable working conditions in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK).

Corporatizing Indian agriculture 'to enhance' farmer efficiency, market competitiveness

By Shashank Shukla*  Today, amidst the ongoing farmers' protest, one of the key demands raised is for India to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Let us delve into the feasibility of such a move and explore its historical context within India's globalization trajectory.

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Livelihood issues return to national agenda ahead of LS polls: SKM on Bharat Bandh

Counterview Desk  Top farmers' network, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has claimed big success of Grameen Bharat Bandh and industrial /sectoral strikes, stating, the “struggle reflected anger of farmers, workers and rural people across India”, adding, the move on February 16 succeeded in bringing back peoples’ livelihood issues in the national agenda just ahead of the general election to the Lok Sabha.

How retraints were imposed on academic freedom on the IIM-Ahmedabad campus

By Sandeep Pandey*  This is the seventh consecutive academic year when I would have gone as a visiting faculty member to the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad to teach an Elective course on Transformational Social Movements to the second year of Post Graduate Programme students. But the invitation has not come so far and it looks like it is the end of my teaching stint at IIM, at least, so long as the Bhartiya Janata Party remains in power at the centre.

A 'distorted narrative' of Indian politics: Congress failing to look beyond LS polls

By Prem Singh*  About 15 days ago, I told a senior journalist friend that there are not even two   months left for the Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is roaming around on a delectation (tafreeh). The friend probably found my comment exasperating and replied that he is not on a delectation trip. The conversation between us on this topic ended there.