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Report No. 244

Electoral Disqualifications

Electoral Disqualifications
I. Initiation of the Process
II. Responses Received to the Consultation Paper
III. National Consultation
IV. The Need for Reform
A. Free and Fair Elections
B. The Extent of Criminalisation in Politics
C. The Role of Political Parties
D. Existing Legal Framework
E. Supreme Court Judgments Interpreting this Framework
F. Previous Reports Recommending Reforms
V. Disqualification at the Stage of Framing of Charges
A. Rationale
(i) Low Rates of Conviction
(ii) Delays in trials
(iii) Lack of adequate deterrence
(iv) Negative effects on democracy
B. Reform Proposal
(i) Explanation of the charging process
(ii) Why disqualification may not be made operative at the stage of filing of charge-sheet
(iii) Cases on framing of charges
a. Provisions Dealing with Discharge
b. Nature of Enquiry under Section 227
c. The Burden on Prosecution at the charging stage
(iv) Justifications to enlarge scope of disqualification to include those against whom charges framed
(v) Rebutting counter-arguments
C. Safeguards
(i) Offences in relation to which this disqualification applies
(ii) Cut-off period
(iii) Period of applicability
D. Charges Framed against Sitting MPs/MLAs
E. Retroactive Application
VI Consequences upon Filing of False Affidavits
A. Rationale
(i) Legislative history on the requirement of disclosures
(ii) Current law on disclosure of candidate information
(iii) Current legal consequences on false disclosure
B. Reform Proposal
(i) The reform proposal: an assessment
VII. Recommendations and Proposed Sections
A. Conclusions and Recommendations
B. Proposed Sections
(i) Amendments on disqualification upon framing of charges
(ii) Amendments on false disclosures

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