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.