Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Catalyst Trust has called for early electoral reforms to cleanse ‘politics of criminalisation and corruption.’

In a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a copy of which was released to the media here, the Trust pointed out that many registered political parties were ‘misusing’ the provision of income tax exemption.

To prevent this, the Election Commission should be empowered to deregister ‘letter-pad’ political parties so that only the serious minded parties get the advantage.

It demanded a comprehensive law to ensure inner party democracy in all political parties. Fast track special courts should be established to hear election petitions and dispose them within 6 months. These courts should also be empowered to deal with cases of candidates disqualified from contesting because of pending criminal cases. The existing provisions of compulsory filing of income and expenditure statements by all recognised political parties and their statutory audit by the CAS should be implemented and political parties should be derecognised if they failed to file the audited certificates every year to the Income Tax Department.

As a long term measure, the Trust suggested introduction of mixed member proportional representation system. In the suggested system, 50 per cent of members of Parliament/ legislatures could be directly elected as per the present system and the balance be elected based on votes cast in favour of political parties without names of candidates. Political parties should fill such seats from among their active members.