Polity and Governance

<p><br>Ques1. What are the various corrupt practices prevalent during elections in India? Provide necessary electoral reforms needed to improve the current crisis-stricken situation? <br>Answer: Conducting elections in a fair and free manner has become a hefty task for the Election commission thereby manipulating the very ‘will of the people’. The following corrupt practices are common- distribution of freebies, money for vote; booth capturing, use of unaccounted money, using brute power over weaker groups, misuse of social media for pursuing defamatory practices; misuse of the electoral bonds; use of government treasury for expenditure on elections; issuing utopian party manifestos; violation of the model code of conduct; non-disclosure of party accounts etc. <br>There is an urgent need to reform and revolutionise elections in the world’s largest democracy: <br>1. The EC must be given greater adjudicatory powers of arrest so as to obtain compliance from offenders.<br>2. Strict adherence to the Model of code of conduct on both online platforms and offline platforms.<br>3. Political parties must be brought under the purview of RTI and strict accounting standards must be followed.<br>4. Voter education must be provided across all sections and groups of the society. To begin with such campaigns must be initiated at secondary level of education and gradually expanded. <br>5. The object of the electoral bond scheme must have compliance with the Supreme Courts orders on the same. <br>6. There must be introduced a mechanism of a minimum number of proposers for a candidate to contest elections. This shall reduce government expenditure substantially. <br>Current Perspectives: Lok Sabha election to the Vellore constituency was cancelled following recovery of huge amount of cash allegedly from a DMK candidate’s office. President Ram Nath Kovind rescinded (cancelled or withdrew) the notification to hold the election to the seat based on the recommendation made by the poll pane. Polling in Vellore was scheduled for 18th April. Controversy - On March 30, Income Tax officials had conducted searches at the residence of Anand’s father Durai Murugan over suspected use of unaccounted money for electioneering, and seized Rs 10.50 lakh in alleged “excess” cash. Two days later, they claimed to have seized Rs 11.53 crore from a cement godown belonging to a DMK leader’s associate in the same district. The EC took the decision after the district police had filed a complaint against the accused, Kathir Anand, as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on April 10. <br>Ques2. Rights and duties complement each other. Discuss the statement in the light of right to vote. <br>Answer: Democracy as a system of governance establishes the supremacy of people. It allows for self-rule and independence. As a natural corollary it grants the right to vote.Voting is to be influenced by the mandate, policy, approach and the character of the political representative who will govern us. However, the feudal mindset that still exists within the society forces us to find personal benefits even in the act of voting, thus breeding malafide voting behavior, guided on the lines of material goods, ethnicity, caste, race, etc. Democracy flows from individualism to nationalism where nationalism becomes a product of self-realisation. Therefore, voting on petty individual interests is a sign of immature democracy which is bound to breed destructive results in future. <br>People today enjoy the perks of democracy but have rather failed to protect it.Voting accounts for looking beyond one’s self interest and thinking for the larger interest of society, and therefore, with every vote casted on ulterior motives, democracy bleeds to death. <br>It is to be preserved as it is a privilege that allows the people to decide the fate of the country.Therefore, it is time to look beyond the parochial lines of caste and ethnicity or self-interest for it is the only way of achieving an accountable and responsible government. There is a need to establish a complementary relationship between the rights and duties. <br>Voting is to be seen as an ethical duty based on rationality and long-term goals rather than a constitutional duty for it is only such means that could lead to desired ends. <br>Current Perspectives: The Sapex court has agreed to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging a provision of the Representation of People Act, which deprives prisoners their right to vote. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi posted the hearing in the matter after two weeks. The SC also asked the petitioner, a law student, to appraise why he picked up the particular cause that too under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.<br>Article 32 of the Indian Constitution gives the right to an individual to move to the SC to seek justice when they feel their right has been 'unduly deprived'. Petitioner Aditya Prasanna Bhattacharya through his petition challenged 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951. "No person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police," the section states. The petitioner has argued that the section did not specify if, under trial, a detained person or a person out on bail can exercise their universal adult franchise.<br></p>