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Report No. 170

3.2.8.1. Secondly, it must be note.- and it needs to be emphasise.- that according to the proposal put forward by the Law Commission, it is not as if each voter is given two votes, one to be cast in favour of the candidate from the concerned territorial constituency and the other in favour of the list put forward by a recognised political party. There is only one vote given to the voter and that is cast by the voter keeping in mind both the candidate from the concerned territorial constituency as well as the persons included in the list put forward by that RPP. Primarily, the vote will be in favour of the direct candidate contesting from the concerned territorial constituency and it is only secondarily that the said vote is also taken into account for the purpose of list system as well.

3.2.8.2. We may also mention that notwithstanding the present FPP system, there has been an unmanageable and unhealthy proliferation of political parties and that in the Twelfth Lok Sabha, there were as many as 30 or more political parties, some of them having only one member. The proliferation of political parties appears to be mainly inspired by regional, caste, religious/communal and linguistic considerations, besides the personality clashes between the leaders of a given political party.

Very often splits take place in political parties not on the basis of any ideological differences (as was the case in the case of split in the Communist Party of India in 1964 giving rise to two parties namely CPI and CPI-M) but mainly on account of personality clashes and personal rivalries and ambitions. While it would not be in good taste to refer to specific instances in support of this view, the fact is there for all to see. May be ours is still a young democracy. 50 years in the life of a democratic nation is not too long. We can only hope that with the passage of time there will be polarisation among the political parties on the basis of ideologies and that the voters would also realise that voting for small parties is not in the ultimate interest of the nation.

3.2.8.3. In fact, the proliferation of political parties can be checked to a large extent and the process of polarisation accelerated substantially, if a new provision is made in the Act to the effect that any political party which obtains less than 5% of the total valid votes cast in the country (in the case of Parliament) and in the concerned State (in the case of Legislative Assembly) shall not be allowed any representation in the Lok Sabha or in the concerned Legislative Assembly, as the case may be.

3.2.8.4. Such a provision is in vogue in Germany and has helped in checking the proliferation of political parties. Article 6(6) of the Federal Electoral Laws says: "In distributing the seats among the Land lists, only such parties be taken into consideration as have obtained at least five per cent of the valid second votes cast in the electoral area or have won a seat in at least three constituencies."

In other words, a party must poll at least five per cent of the second votes in the entire country or must have won at least in three constituency seats on the basis of the first votes. As a matter of fact, since the elections for Bundestag in 1957, the qualifying parties have been (1) the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), (2) the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), (3) the Christian Social Union (CSU), which put up candidates in Bavaria only and (4) the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

The Greens were represented in Bundestag for the first time following the Bundestag election in 1983. In the first all German general elections in 1990 (after the reunification of Germany), however, they were able to win seats in the Bundestag only as members of the list coalition (Alliance 90/Greens) with the Party Alliance 90 which was successful in the new federal states. This requirement has thus prevented the proliferation of political parties, splintering of political parties and has led to polarisation.

3.2.8.5. Such a provision is a crying necessity in India today where the process of splintering of parties is increasing with every general election which is not based on any ideological differences but lust for power. Appropriate provision to this effect is being set out in this Report.

3.2.9. With respect to the objection that in the case of a list system there is no umbilical cord between voter and the MP/MLA, this is devoid of any substance. Apart from the fact that such a mixed system is in vogue in many countries (e.g. in Germany), the merit of the list system lies in the fact that for the members chosen under the list system, the entire territorial unit/State/nation is the constituency.

In fact, there have been several instances where powerful politicians like Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers have been 'nursing' their particular constituency with the result that the development in that particular constitutuency is far ahead of the development in the adjacent and other constituencies in the region or the State. "Nursing" the constituency does not mean this. It means attending to, representing and fighting for the interests of the voters in all fora and not to corrupt them with the aid of public funds. It is indeed a case of misuse of authority and of public money. It is not a good idea that one particular constituency should be rewarded unduly merely because the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister happens to contest from that constituency.

3.2.10. The other merit in the list system apart from those set out in chapter III of Part I is that important leaders of the political parties can be included in the list put forward by that political party and those leaders can devote their energies in campaigning for the party throughout the State instead of expending a good amount of their energies on the particular constituency from which they are contesting.

In fact the list system would provide an opportunity for inclusion of important leaders with high character and reputation and technocrats and experts in finance and economics. The apprehension that the criminal elements and money bags would be included in such a list is unfounded inasmuch as no political party would dare include criminal elements and/or money bags in such a list, since it would also reflect negatively upon its candidates in the direct election from the territorial constituencies.

3.2.11. With respect to the objection that Rajya Sabha or for that matter, Legislative Councils in whichever States they exis.- serve the purpose and satisfy the objective underlying the list system, it must be stated that the criticism is not well-founded. Take Rajya Sabha, its members are elected by the members of the Legislative Assemblies of various States in the Union (Except twelve members who are nominated). In other words, those very MLAs, who are more often than not elected on a minority of the votes cast in the given State, elect the members of Rajya Sabha.

The members so elected neither represent the wasted votes (as explained hereinabove) no rectify and redress the imbalance between the votes received and seats won by a political party. Rajya Sabha is indeed a reflection of the composition of State Legislative Assemblies; it is repetition of the same inequitable FPP system. None of the distortions, to remove which list system has been proposed, are answered by the Rajya Sabha or the Legislative Councils. There is equally no merit in the objection that the introduction of list system would give rise to two classes of MPs/MLAs. Such a dual system is in vogue in several countries and is functioning satisfactorily.

3.2.11.1. In its Report on "Electoral Reforms", 1974 the Tarkunde Committee (appointed by Shri Jaya Prakash Narayan on behalf of the citizen for Democracy had also recommended the adoption of 'mixed system' i.e. German Model of Electoral system.

3.2.12. There remains the question whether the list system should be limited to 25% or raised to 50% of the existing strength of Lok Sabha and of each of the State Legislative Assemblies. We had also debated this aspect while preparing the working paper but we limited the strength to be filled on this basis to 25% of the existing strength for the reason that by adopting the 50% rule, the strength of Lok Sabha would rise to almost 826.

May be that this number is not excessive considering the population and territorial extent of this country, but what was apprehended was that an Assembly of 826 members would be unmanageable. Yet another consideration was that since the list system is being introduced for the first time on an experimental basis, we may start with 25% and if it proves beneficial it can be raised to 50% and if the experience proves counter-productive, it can be abandoned.

3.2.13. With respect to the suggestion that the list system should not be confined to the recognised political parties, it must be said that acceptance of this plea would indeed lead to proliferation of political parties, which is admittedly not in the interest of a successnful democracy. The singular example of Telugu Desam in Adhra Pradesh in 1982-83 cannot be made the basis for adopting a system which will make the operation of the list system cumbersome and which may indeed prove counter productive.

3.2.14. There is one more aspect to be considered. Certain participants in the seminar and certain responses received by the Law Commission suggest that the concept of 'territorial unit' put forward by the Law Commission in this context should be given up and the entire country should be treated as one unit for the purpose of choosing the members according to list system. The main purpose behind this suggestion was elimination of small parties and to prevent the proliferation of political parties, as also to exclude splinter parties and thereby ensuring that Parliament functioned properly and the government was stabl.- the very same object underlying the requirement of 5% vote.

May be that this objective can be achieved by the provision now being suggested by us that any political party which receives less than 5% of the total valid votes cast in the general election to the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly, as the case may be, shall not be entitled to any seats in the Lok Sabha/Legislative Assembly. But, it would be consistent with our other recommendations and the spirit of this Report if the concept of territorial units put forward by us earlier in the working paper is given up.

Our objective in doing so is to drive the smaller parties into pre-election fronts/coalitions. May be, these smaller parties may fight, wherever they like, on their own symbol but they will have to become a part of one or the other pre-election front which is proposed to be treated as a political party for the purpose of the Tenth Schedule. In such a coalition/front, there is bound to be adjustment/appointment of seats and voters will be voting for the candidate of a constituent party keeping in mind the constituents of the coalition front.



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