Saturday, July 31, 2010

Electoral reforms

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill that seeks to bring some minor electoral reforms, including an increase in the security deposit of candidates, while the government promised to bring in more comprehensive changes in the electoral process soon. The Bill raises the security deposit for general candidates for Lok Sabha poll from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 and for Assembly polls from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. This has been done with a view to discourage non-serious candidates from contesting elections. The Bill also aims to put a complete ban on publishing and broadcasting of exit polls in between two phases of elections.

The Representation of People (Second Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha will also restrict the publication of exit polls, ensure speedy disposal of electoral disputes by setting up a new appellate authority within the district. It will also simplify the procedure for disqualification of a person indulging in corrupt electoral practice — specifying that it be forwarded to the presiding officer of the House in three months. The list of officials associated with conducting of elections is set to be widened to include employees of local authorities, universities, government companies, PSUs and banks so that action can be taken in case they are found furthering the interest of any candidate.