Essay on Recommendations of second arc on corruption electoral reforms

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» The issue of disqualification of members on grounds of defection should be decided by the President/ Governor on the advice of the Election Commission.

» Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 needs to be amended to disqualify all persons facing charges related to grave and heinous offences and corruption, with the modification suggested by the Election Commission.

» The Constitution should be amended to ensure that if one or more parties in a coalition with a common programme mandated by the electorate either explicitly before the elections or while forming the government, realign midstream with one or more parties outside the coalition, then Members of that party or parties shall have to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate. It is necessary to lay down an ethical framework to ensure that such exercises in opportunism, through redrawing of coalitions between elections, do not take place.

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» Special Election Tribunals should be constituted at the regional level under Article 323B of the Constitution to ensure speedy disposal of election petitions and disputes within a stipulated period ol six months.

Each Tribunal should comprise a High Court Judge and a senior civil servant with at least 5 years of experience in the conduct of elections (not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to Government of India ‘Principal Secretary of a State Government).

Its mandate should be to ensure that all election petitions are decided within a period of six months as provided by law. The Tribunals should normally be set up for a term of one year only, extendable for a period of 6 months in exceptional circumstances.

» A collegiums headed by the Prime Minister with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Law Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha as members should make recommendations for the consideration of the President for appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners.

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» Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act needs to be amended to provide for a special offence of ‘collusive bribery’. An offence could be classified as ‘collusive bribery’ if the outcome or intended outcome of the transaction leads to a loss to the state, public or public interest.

» In all such cases if it is established that the interest of the state or public has suffered because of an act of a public servant, then the court shall presume that the public servant and the beneficiary of the decision committed an offence of ‘collusive bribery’.

» The punishment for all such cases of collusive bribery should be doubles that of other cases of bribery. The law may be suitably amended in this regard.

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