Loopholes in Election Laws: Need of an Hour
Article 324 to 329 of Indian Constitution deals with the electoral system in India. The Representation of the People Act, 1951 is an act of Parliament of India to provide for the conduct of election in the Houses of Parliament and for State Legislatures, it mentions about the qualifications and disqualifications for being a member, the corrupt practices and other offences connected with elections. The act was passed by the parliament under Article 327 of the constitution.
Failure of this act-:
-Section 77 of the RPA of 1951 speaks about expenditure of candidate and not political party, but in which large expenses are made. This leads to improper and under-assessment of campaign expenditure.
-In election laws, nowhere it is mentioned about the educational qualifications of candidates which is the foremost requirement.
-Section 29B of the RPA of 1951 which allows candidates to accept unlimited contribution from non-government company/non-foreign individuals which cannot be counted.
-It prohibits poll campaign only in poll-bound area, allowing a candidate to carry out campaign via video conferencing from a different locations.
-Many candidates also offers voters who are poor or uneducated by some facilities free of cost if they win, this should be stopped.
-Some politician who have been elected before and prior completion of their tenure they overload voters with exemption, subsidized products and free policies. Which drains country’s money unnecessary enhancing their fame.
Whether a candidate is required to be educated for contesting in elections?
A candidate is elected as a representative of the people, one of the tasks he/she is required to discharge is the onerous responsibility of framing laws which govern the electorate and others in the society and it is humiliating for a voter to find that persons whom they elected to these bodies and are representing a large section of society are not even literate in some instances. If a candidate is uneducated he cannot run the government smoothly as an educated candidate as he has gained some extra knowledge than that person. An educated doesn’t need any one’s help or any suggestion in any matter. According to Article 21, it speaks Right to education and education is a fundamental duty of child if one candidate lacks education and neglected his fundamental duty then how can he provide justice to the people. If one is lacking education then he will be least aware of rules and law, outside knowledge as he is unable to read something, cannot work for development of peoples etc. He cannot have a developing or competitive as an educated candidate can do. In jobs of clerical, army cook are selected having minimum education as those are public work posts but then why don’t here it implements as politics is footstep of public service. People usually says if one becomes politician then he will rule ,but how come one gets justice if after doing handworks & getting education then will be ruled by an illiterate who has not even seen schools. Nowadays every villages have schools within few kilometers, if he lacks education how come he can facilitate the education system of society. In some places the one who has read up to class 5 is the educational minister how he will make provisions that are beneficial to the children’s of society. In recent times every offices are equipped with digital based work in computers, an uneducated cannot access the computer and it will finally lead to mismanagement of the product. Everyone tries to fool an illiterate, similarly if one candidate is illiterate then he will easily fooled and can be looted by any means, one can fraudulently take signature and can empty the government funds, expenditure will be ten times than of normal. In a series named ‘Panchayat’ it has been portrayed beautifully a scene where an uneducated ward members is pulling the village but unable to sing the national anthem, which is a basic thing for an all citizens. To their inadequate knowledge they will depend upon others to get their work done, and to cut those expenditure they will have to do corruption. Due to illiteracy they will lack doing their work by themselves so they will try to do their work by hook or cook and can eventually enter criminal world which is very dangerous and illegal also. In India we can see many who are from criminal world but ruling us by creating fear in us. In initial of the post British era, the education is not necessity as most people are uneducated but with evolving time it must change where people always need a better and advanced person who can work for them.
Reforms made for Minimum Educational Qualification by states:
In December 2014, the Government of Rajasthan passed an ordinance which described that contestant for Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti Elections should have the minimum qualification of secondary education. Which made contestant for Sarpanch to have pass class VIII from any school in case of general category mandatorily. The matter was pending before the High Court Of Rajasthan titled “Sahi Ram vs. State (Panchayati Raj Dep)”. However, The Rajasthan cabinet approved two amendments bills – Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2019, and the Rajasthan Municipalities (Amendment) Bill, 2019 – to end the minimum educational qualification condition for contesting the local body elections in the state stating that it was a hurdle in the “Right to Contest Election” for the candidate.
Similarly in State assembly, Haryana also passed a Bill, fixing the minimum educational qualification for elections to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. The Bill fixes, matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates. The decision of the Haryana State Assembly was upheld by the Apex Court in the case of “Rajbala & Ors vs. State Of Haryana”.
Justice Chelameswar, who authored the verdict, reasons there is nothing “irrational or illegal or unconnected” if the law prescribes minimum educational qualifications for candidates. “It is only education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad. Therefore, prescription of an educational qualification is not irrelevant for better administration.
At the time when India got independent, the literacy rate of the nation was merely 11%, which means that 89% of the population at the time of independence was illiterate. However after the perusal of the consensus of 2011, the literacy rate of the nation is somewhere around 74% as a result of which the election commission must recommend some basic minimum qualification which should be required to contest election. Also the legislature should bring a law where in if not all the political leaders at least the members who are being chosen as Cabinet Ministers, should have a degree according to the portfolio to which they are awarded with. This will not only help us in better implementation of policies but will also increase the development rate of the nation. Researching on the feasibility of state funding to ensure fair and inclusive competition
However, the recent proposal to introduce totalizers, which makes booth wise results unavailable to curb harassment of political parties, is a step forward in strengthening electoral democracy. Video poll campaigning in social media and TV must be stopped after the given date by Election Commission.
- LEGAL HUMMING
(CO-AUTHOR SWAGAT MOHAPATRA)