A bill aimed at discouraging non-serious candidates in elections, simplifying procedures for disqualification of elected representative and imposing restrictions on exit polls was passed by Parliament today.
As the Lok Sabha adopted the bill, a week after Rajya Sabha passed it, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, said the government would bring a comprehensive amendment to the Representation of People’s Act to remove certain “distortions” in the electoral system and national consultations will be held next June-July.
He said the government will consider the use of finger-prints for voting to end the scope of rigging and that instructions have been issued for making Election I-Card a lifelong document of a holder even though the address may change.
Replying to a debate on the bill, Mr. Moily said making voting compulsory was not practical and contended that greater deliberations were needed on having Lok Sabha and Assembly polls together and banning surrogate advertisements.
The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2009, provides for increasing the deposit by a candidate contesting Lok Sabha polls to Rs. 25,000 from Rs. 10,000 at present, a move aimed at discouraging non-serious candidates.
Likewise, the deposit for SC and ST candidates is sought to be raised from Rs.5,000 now to Rs.12,500.
For Assembly polls, a candidate belonging to general category will now have to deposit Rs.10,000 compared to Rs. 5,000 while those belonging to the SC/ST category will have to pay Rs. 5,000 against Rs. 2,500 previously.