Monday, February 7, 2011

Electoral Reforms

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily has suggested that with a view to preventing black money, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) should get the accounts of all political parties audited. Speaking at a seminar on 'Regional Consultation for Electoral Reforms,' in Chandigarh, he made this proposal, which was supported even by Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi.
Taking Moily's proposal even further, Qureshi stressed that getting the accounts of all political parties audited by the CAG would reveal the sources from where the money came as also on what it was spent. He further opined that all transactions during the election campaign should be made through checks. He felt that all political parties should reveal their assets to the public. He also stressed the need of prevention of violence at polling booths.

Importance and Significance
It is well nigh impossible to conjecture how far political parties are serious and agreeable to the proposals made by Veerappa Moily and S.Y. Qureshi, and how much support would they extend to bring transparency to the election process and regulations. It is because it would amount to most political parties cutting the same branch of the tree they are sitting on.
All political parties and their candidates contesting election spent huge sums of money in different ways during electioneering. They spent money like throwing it down the drain, and by luring voters with dubious tactics, attempt to mislead them. In such a scenario, it is clearly difficult for any party to agree seriously and with good intention with the proposals put up by Moily and Qureshi. Yet, it no way reduces the importance and the significance of these proposals because, in the list of sections responsible for the increasing corruption, politicians and bureaucrats are on the top.

The causes of corruption among bureaucrats is another matter for debate but as far as corruption indulged in by politicians is concerned, one of the reason is the shortcoming in the electoral system. Among them is the issue of criminalization of politics and that of those who contest an election on the force of the wealth at their command. These politicians use the money earned through underhand means and illegally, without any hitch. Yet only a few politicians fall into the grip of law. It is because the rules and regulations pertaining to election are neither much effective nor strong.

Grip of Law
If any politician does fall into the grip of the law, they get acquitted honorably because of the weak laws and ineffective regulations. Thus, the game plan of using the ill-gotten money in elections continues unabated.

The Election Commission, on its part, has initiated some measures in recent past, but the problem remains that the Election Commission has to function under its own sphere of work and authority. It makes it clear that unless legislatures which comprise politicians who reach the House after winning an election, do not initiate measures to end the shortcomings, one cannot hope for any change.

Impartiality and Transparency
Under such circumstances, it is necessary that all political parties reach some kind of a consensus outside parliament and prepare such a draft for electoral reforms, which would be binding on parties to support inside the legislative body. Legal luminaries may also be got involved while drafting the proposed bill for electoral reforms so that there may not be any lacunae that would be utilized by those contesting election.

The judiciary and the Election Commission should also play a role within their bounds, in this regard. As for the proposal put up by Moily regarding accounts of political parties checked by the CAG, the impartiality and transparency of the CAG would have to be ensured, prior to giving this responsibility.

No comments: