The Election Commission is eagerly waiting for the introduction of the much talked about electoral reforms Bill in the ensuing winter session of the parliament as hinted by Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid recently as the Commission is keen on poll reform to decriminalise politics.
Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi told “The Hindu” here on Saturday that the Commission had even suggested to the government that those persons against whom a charge sheet was filed in the court for the offence/s for which the maximum sentence was five or more years should be debarred from contesting the poll. The EC had wanted to ensure that criminals did not enter the corridors of power.
Similarly strict public scrutiny of financial transactions of the political parties had also been suggested as the Commission felt that abundant use of “money power” during polls was the biggest challenge to the conduct of free and fair elections with level playing field for all the candidates.
“In fact we have made some suggestions on the state funding of elections to the government when the draft Bill was circulated to the Commission. It is to be seen what suggestions of the Commission have been included in the Bill by the government,” Mr. Quraishi said.
Sources said the electoral reforms Bill, part of which dealt with “decriminalisation of politics” , had inbuilt measures to prevent its misuse as it specifies that the provision would not apply in cases where charges were framed in the court less than six months before the date of elections.
The other subjects which were likely to find place in the new Bill on election laws might be de-communalisation of elections, conduct, regulation and better management of elections, adjudication of election disputes and media and elections.
There could be consultations with the representatives of the recognised political parties by the government before introducing the Bill in the parliament.
It may be recalled that the Commission had even suggested for introduction of a button in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) giving the option to the voters the right to reject the wrong candidates by pressing “none of the above”. Through this the possibility of wrong candidates getting elected would be averted and at the same time the secrecy of the ballot too would be maintained, sources said.