ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Makes a Party a National Party?

To be deemed national, a party has to demonstrate an ability to transcend regional particularities. In introducing the transcendence requirement, the Election Commission appears to propose implicitly, that though in theory all inhabitants of the territory of India are citizens, in practice, their natural-born citizenship is only confirmed by a rite of transcendence.

Electoral Reform Bill: Too Little, Too Late

The bill to amend the Representation of People's Act all but dilutes the directives contained in the Supreme Court's verdict and appears to have been drafted only to push out Election Commission's more stringent guidelines.

Election to Rajya Sabha: Proposed 'Reform'

The government is seeking to introduce amendments to the law on election of members to the Rajya Sabha by proposing open vote instead of the present secret ballot and allowing candidates to contest from any part of the country, by scrapping the 'ordinary resident' clause. While the latter proposal has met with some criticism, it is necessary to clear the confusion by drawing on the experience of the past 50 years.

Electoral Reforms: Need for Citizens' Involvement

There is no escape for concerned citizens and civil society groups from getting involved in politics without being politicians. They have to use all available means to change and continuously monitor the functioning of the political system. These means include using the judicial system through public interest litigation, the media for information dissemination and statutory organs such as the Election Commission and the Law Commission which have both proposed major initiatives for reforming the electoral system.

Elections : Keeping Criminals Out

 n a milieu in which it is almost second nature for the powerful to regard themselves as above the law, the firm handling of the issue of AIADMK leader Jayalalitha’s eligibility to contest next month’s election to the Tamil Nadu assembly is a matter for profound satisfaction. After it was reaffirmed on behalf of the Election Commission that the question of a candidate’s eligibility was to be determined strictly according to the commission’s 1997 instructions which specifically barred persons convicted by a court of law and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more from contesting elections, Jayalalitha’s disqualification by the returning officers of the constituencies from where she had filed her nomination should have been a foregone conclusion. For in its 1997 order the Election Commission had specifically addressed the issue of the eligibility of those, like Jayalalitha, who had been convicted and sentenced but whose sentence had been stayed to enable them to appeal to a higher court against their conviction and decided that such persons would stand disqualified. This was necessary, in the commission’s view, to deal with the “serious problem of criminalisation of politics in which criminals, i e, persons convicted by courts of law for certain offences, are entering into fray and contesting as candidates”.


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