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Updated: October 17, 2011 16:26 IST

Hegde wants electoral reforms debate similar to Lokpal

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Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde addressing the press conference in Bangalore on Oct. 14, 2011. Photo : K . Bhagya Prakash.
The Hindu
Former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde addressing the press conference in Bangalore on Oct. 14, 2011. Photo : K . Bhagya Prakash.

Team Anna member Santosh Hegde on Monday called for a wide debate on electoral reforms, similar to the Lokpal Bill and said he want to know why measures like ’Right to recall’ and ‘Right to reject’ won’t work in India.

“I think there should be a debate across the country. I think there should be a wide debate as is the debate taking place on Lokpal bill”, the former Supreme Court Judge told PTI here in response to Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi terming the clauses impractical.

“We will have to discuss why it’s not practical in our country. If it’s suited to one country, we got to find if there is a way by which you can modify it to suit the (our) country”, the former Karnataka Lokayukta said.

On Mr. Quraishi’s statement that ‘Right to Reject’ or ‘Right to Recall’ would lead to destabilisation of the country, Mr. Hegde wondered how the CEC got such an impression. “I would like to know more about it”, he added.

He said Team Anna would have no difficulty in discussing Mr. Quraishi’s suggestion favouring appointment of the Election Commission by a collegium of people representing a cross section or political parties, rather than by the government, to improve public perception about the institution.

He said while “everybody says yes” to electoral reforms, there should be debate on how it should be done - whether it should be Right to Recall or Right to Reject (or None of the Above) or electoral funding to be taken over by the state.

Mr. Hegde said he would like to add one more issue to it - he wants Parliamentary and Assembly secretariats to publish an annual performance audit of all elected representatives.

He advocated this measure, citing a magazine report which revealed that during 2004-2009, out of 540-odd members in Lok Sabha, only 174 spoke in the House.

“So, why do we spend so much of money and send the representatives of ours to Parliament? If they are not participating there, what else they are doing?, are they influencing for transfers, contracts or other things; or are they doing legitimate work which is entrusted to them as our representatives?” Mr. Hegde asked.

He also pointed out that on December 23, 2008, the Parliament passed as many as 17 bills in 12 minutes.

“They have the temerity to beat their chests and say who are you unelected, unelectable tyrants interfering in the work of Parliament”, Mr. Hegde said, obviously referring to a section of the political class which opposed Team Anna pushing for Jan Lokpal bill.

“I think we require some responsible representatives, that’s why we have to bring about electoral reforms”, he said, adding, these reforms should not be confined to elected members alone; there should be wide debate, like one for Lokpal bill.

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Mr.Hegde's comments are important and the EC and parliament need to examine the issue in greater detail so that Indian democracy will be more vibrant and people friendly. The best day for Indian democracy is one in which money monger politicians from all parties are afraid to enter the Parliament/Assembly, fearing severe punishment and confiscation of their properties and people of Gandhian philosophy get elected to do justice to our vast population. We must get rid of poverty & illiteracy at any cost to take nation forward.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Oct 18, 2011 at 17:51 IST

Mr Quaraishi's role in the last WB election is not above suspicion, he has not acted on the compaints of the election expenses of TMC, without collecting contributions from general public how can a party use two helicopters for a long time, has not been answered yet?

from:  Sambhunath Bhattacharya
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 20:30 IST

No one denies that our electoral process needs an urgent overhaul. It should enable good candidates to be put up by the parties and have capable members of Parliament who participate in debates. Even well educated and capable members use the platform to create walkouts and protests instead of debate and discussion. How do we eliminate money power in elections? How can we ensure that parties do not put up candidates who have criminal charges and also who cannot participate in the den bates in the House. The Karnataka Govt has had the most Ministers who have been dismissed on corruption charges or other misdemeanours. Perhaps this would apply to all parties. But I would urge that Justice Hegde should ensure that discussions on this important subject should be conducted with a positive approach with all political parties and include former CECs and jurists.

from:  S.N.Iyer
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 18:49 IST

Mr.Hegde has asked the right question to Mr.Quraishi,we need to discuss electoral reforms like Right to Recall and Right to Reject, we want more and more effective methods to check who is getting elected to Legislatures, its high time that we put an end to rogues,looters and criminals from deciding our fate.

from:  xavier surender
Posted on: Oct 17, 2011 at 17:18 IST
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