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

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Abysmal deficit of water, food waste recycle treatment 'impacting' Chennai life

By Simi Mehta*  We are living in a state where the most basic needs like food and water are not assured to the people residing in the urban areas, which account for the biggest sources of food and water wastage. Socio-economic inequality in society which is pervasive in urban areas is one of the main reasons for this.