Election Commission Must Act Quickly

Should the Supreme Court also decide that if a drain has to be made, what should be the shape and size of the drain? From where will the bricks come? From where will the cement come? Or then, the Supreme Court says that the drain should be made here, and carrying the task through will be the work of those whose responsibility it is. The Supreme Court has to make just a principled decision or judgement. The task of implementing it is that of the Government, or of the organisation in whose connection the decision or judgement has been made. It is a matter of regret that this is not happening.
Shri Anna Hazare campaigned in the entire the country for electoral reforms, in which he said that the people should have the right to reject those candidates who were ‘not fit’ for the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assemblies. ‘Not fit’ means those who are criminals, corrupt, deserving of punishment or tainted  they should not enter the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assemblies. The entire country wholeheartedly welcomed Anna’s suggestion that the Election Commission should have a last red button in the voting machine, through which the public could decide that if it did not prefer a certain candidate, it should press the red
button. This means that if a party’s candidate or an independent candidate who has got the most votes, if more votes than that are cast by the public by pressing the red button and putting them in the ‘not preferred’ account, then that particular election will be cancelled.
Anna also says that in this situation, elections should take place again, and those candidates who have been rejected by the people should not get permission to stand for elections the next time. These suggestions of Anna are supported be people all over the country. It is a matter of happiness that the Supreme Court has agreed in principle that the ‘Right to Reject’ should be implemented in these very elections. In other words the public should have the right that if it does not prefer any candidate, it can reject him or her by pressing the red button and thereby stamp their rejection or unacceptability of a candidate. This principled decision of the Supreme Court can put a weapon in the hands of the public. Now the work ahead of this is that of the Election Commission, that it makes rules and norms in an effective manner for the proper implementation of this decision of the Supreme Court.

We fear that to change the Supreme Court’s decision, political parties will give some advice or the other to the Election Commission to change the Supreme Court’s decision and the Election Commission, with the Government’s consent,  will nullify the logical effect of the decision of the Supreme Court. Till now, the Election Commission has neither welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court, nor has it circulated any draft to the political parties for implementing this decision. Actually this draft should be circulated publically so that the public can get to know what the Election Commission wants to do.

But till now the Election Commission is silent on this issue. If the Election Commission does not create a structure for this entire process according to Anna Hazare’s suggestions and just leaves it at making a provision for pressing a red button on the voting machine for this decision of the Supreme Court, then it will not only be an insult to the Supreme Court, but will also obstruct and choke the hopes of the voters
of this country. The people of the country want to see the decision of the Supreme Court to be implemented in totality.
If this decision is implemented according to Anna’s suggestion, there will be two benefits. The first benefit will be that the chances of tainted candidates becoming probable candidates from a party will decrease tremendously, because the parties will fear that people could press the red button against their candidate. And secondly, the chances that a candidate will spend 10-15 crore rupees and mislead the public will also lessen, because in that situation his 15 crore rupees will go down the drain and fighting the election will also be denied to him. This will increase the chances that political parties will field the right candidates in the largest possible numbers, but in our country political parties have a wish to overturn or reverse every good decision or judgement  of which the most recent example is the Supreme Court’s decision of not allowing those candidates to fight the elections who have been found convicted and who have been sentenced to punishment.
When the Government brought a Bill against this decision in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP along with all other parties supported this Bill, and Arun Jaitley’s speech is worth reading. But because this Bill will be passed only in the winter session, therefore the Government, with the consent of all political parties, made up its mind to issue an ordinance. We fear that to change the Supreme Court’s decision, political parties will give some advice or the other to the Election Commission to change the Supreme Court’s decision and the Election Commission, with the Government’s consent, will nullify the logical effect of the decision of the Supreme Court. Till now, the Election Commission has neither welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court, nor has it circulated any draft to the political parties for implementing this decision. Actually this draft should be circulated publically so that the public can get to know what the Election Commission wants to do.
There is one request to the Supreme Court too –that it should reflect upon that section of its decision in which it has been said that if a person is in custody or detained, he too cannot file his nomination papers. This decision will give unlimited, unrestricted powers to the SHO, who is eventually responsible to the Government. It could also politicise police posts. Alongside, it will become a huge means of corruption as well. On the other side even while giving due respect to the lower courts we would want the Supreme Court to connect itself to a high court’s decision, not to that of the courts. Or the Supreme Court should take another revolutionary step — that the decision of whichever judge of a lower court the High Court reverses, there should be a provision for some sort of punishment for that judge. This will engender a feeling of responsibility in the lower courts, and they will make fewer decisions which can be changed in the High Court. A question has arisen, that in the manner that a demand is being raised to fix responsibility in the executive and the legislature, should the same kind of demand be made in respect of the judiciary?
Other questions related to ‘Right to Reject’ can come before the Supreme Court  that if the people exercising the ‘Right to Reject’ reject the people standing for elections and the Commission does not give them the right to fight elections again, will it then be considered as infringing the individual rights of those candidates? We believe that polluting the electoral atmosphere in a democracy and taking advantage of this process for one’s vested interests is against democracy. And in a democracy those who have been rejected by the public should not stand for election again  the possibilities of the election process becoming transparent will increase with this. Even though the rejected candidates might stand for the next election, but just the decision to not allow them to stand for that election is in favour of the basic idea of a democracy. Now the Election Commission must take a decision as quickly as possible.

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