The Election Commission has turned down Team Anna's proposal to amend the law to introduce the “right to recall” option against non-performing elected representatives through a referendum, stating that the move would bring “instability” and “hamper developmental activities.”
Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and Election Commissioners V.S. Sampath and H.S. Brahma told Team Anna members — Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Kiran Bedi — that such a move would bring instability as those who lose an election could start a campaign (for recalling the representative) from day one.
“This will also hamper development activities because of frequent elections and repeated imposition of the Model Code of Conduct,” Mr. Quraishi told the delegates when they called on the EC to discuss electoral reforms.
There were various implications involved in the implementation of the suggestion — such as the minimum percentage of voters who might file the petition for recall; verification of authenticity of thousands of signatures; whether those signatures are given voluntarily or under coercion; minimum time after which a petition for recall could be presented; the exercise of calling for a referendum in a constituency; and the holding of another election where the petition succeeds.
The delegation agreed that the matter needed review keeping all these in mind.
On the “Right to Reject” proposal, they were told by the EC that it had proposed to the government in December 2001 to introduce a button in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) so that electors could exercise ‘none of the above' option. The option would, however, require an amendment to the Representation of the People Act, 1951. This move might again lead to frequent elections.
The delegates, however, disagreed with the arguments saying that the right to recall would make the political parties to sponsor worthy candidates and help in curbing muscle and money power.