Right to recall? First, they must take part in the electoral process | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Dying to get in
    July 13, 2013
    At its AGM held on June 29, 2008 it was resolved to put a 5-year freeze on membership applications at Bangalore's most coveted club, the…
  • Club hits
    July 13, 2013
    Despite their restrictive membership rules, colonial trappings and archaic dress (and gadget) codes, India's private clubs haven't lost…
  • Finer tastes
    July 13, 2013
    It is the culinary tradition and its grand interiors that Bengal Club is justifiably proud of.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
Changing Tide

Right to recall? First, they must take part in the electoral process


Anna Hazare has called for voters to be empowered with the right to reject and right to recall non-performing and corrupt MPs. Political parties have debunked his proposals. What is your view?

The right to recall is not a practical proposition in a big country like India. So it's not on the radar of the Election Commission. Urban apathy is so great in our country. We see a 30-35 per cent turnout in urban areas. What right do they have to demand the right to recall? First, they must participate in the electoral process. The right to reject is implied in our demand raised in 2001 that the last button on the EVM should be an option to vote "none of the above". We made this recommendation so that those who do not want to vote for any candidate can guard against misuse of their vote by exercising this option. But I would rather that civil society convert its energy into positive energy and puts up good candidates for voters to choose. We need public awakening and voter education for clean and corruption-free elections. Civil society movements can help in this. Then we may not need the right to reject and the right to recall.

What reforms in your opinion are the most important?

The two most critical reforms are decriminalization of politics and transparency of political funding so that we can eliminate black money from election expenditure. We have given a range of proposals to the government on these aspects. On decriminalization, we have suggested debarring from elections those against whom charges have been framed by a court of law in serious cases that carry a punishment of five or more years. We have also proposed that the cases should have been filed at least six months before the election notification. I believe the government has prepared a draft bill on this. On political funding, we have made several suggestions. One is compulsory auditing of the accounts of political parties. Another is annual publication of accounts for public scrutiny. We have also proposed that all donations of more than Rs. 20, 000 should be by cheque.

The Congress has called for state funding of elections to eliminate the use of black money. What is your view?

This has been debated for umpteen years. Our view in the Election Commission is that it is not feasible because it won't address one critical shortcoming, which is the use of black money. Suppose the state sets a ceiling on expenditure and releases funds to all candidates and political parties accordingly, how will you stop them from using black money over and above this? We, on our part, have taken some steps which were visible during the last round of state assembly elections. We have set up an expenditure monitoring division and we have tried to make it difficult for political parties to spend black money. We seized Rs 73 crore in cash during the elections that were held three months ago. Of this, Rs. 60 crore was from Tamil Nadu alone. My belief is that for every Rs 1 crore we seized, we stopped Rs. 50 crore from flowing. It is imperfect but I feel it is a very good beginning.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service