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Report No. 255

B. Consultation Paper Issued by the Law Commission

1.4. In January 2013, the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India requested the Twentieth Law Commission to consider the issue of "Electoral Reforms" in its entirety and suggest comprehensive measures for changes in the law. Accordingly, the Commission, under the guidance of the then Chairman, Justice (Retd.) D. K. Jain, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, prepared and circulated a Consultation Paper in this regard.

1.5. The Consultation Paper listed eight major issues for consideration, including, de-criminalisation of politics and disqualification of candidates; need to strengthen provisions relating to the period of disqualification; false affidavits; state funding of election expenses and donations to political parties; regulation of the conduct of political parties; adjudication of election disputes and enhancement of punishment for electoral offences; issues pertaining to the role of the electronic and print media, and various other issues.

1.6. The Consultation Paper was widely circulated amongs.- political parties and elected representatives, Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures, High Court Bar Associations, the ECI, heads of other important National Commissions and institutions, civil society organisations, jurists and academics and other eminent and public spirited person.- in a bid to get diverse and comprehensive feedback from all these stakeholders.

1.7. The Commission received over 157 responses, with the largest number of responses being received from individuals, followed by civil society organisations. The ECI was the only Commission that sent its response, and former Chief Election Commissioners (hereinafter "CEC") were also consulted.

However, the response from the political class was discouraging, with only one national party, being the Indian National Congress, and one registered party, being the Welfare Party of India sending in their views. Further, only eight Members of Parliament, four each from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, responded.

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