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Report No. 170

Chapte.- III

Debarring of Independent Candidates to Contest Lok Sabha Elections

3.3.1. A Perusal of the statistics regarding the number of independent candidates who contested Elections to the Twelfth Lok Sabha shows that out of 1915 independent candidates, only 6 candidates were elected. This reveals that slightly more than 0.3% independent candidates could only win seats contested by them. The Indrajit Gupta Committee Report on State Funding of Elections projects figures relating to independent candidates who contested the earlier Parliamentary Elections as follows:-

"8.2. out of 1900 independent candidates who contested the last parliamentary elections in 1998, only 6 (0.65%) (sic.) succeeded to win and 1883 lost their security deposit. Likewise, out of 10,635 independent candidates, who contested the 1996 parliamentary election, only 9 (0.08%) of such candidates won and 10,603 (99.70%) forfeited their deposits. Similar was the fate of independents contesting the last round of assembly elections in four States/National Capital Territory of Delhi in November, 1998 where only 19 (0.99%) out of 1910 independents could reach the post. The records would further show that most of these independents were also really not independent but rebels of certain established parties and who were supported by rival parties."

3.3.2. In Dhartipakar v. Rajiv Gandhi, AIR 1987 SC 1577, the Supreme Court recommended to parliament to devise ways and means to meet the onslaught of independent candidates who are not serious about their business.

3.3.3. Past experience shows that many independent candidates contested Lok Sabha elections in a casual manner or for oblique reasons. In many cases their security deposits were forfeited. One of the resultant effects of independents contesting the Lok Sabha seats is that the ballot paper becomes unmanageably large.

Non-seriousness of some of the independent candidates is exemplified in the case of one of the BJP candidates, namely, Shri V.K. Malhotra, against whom quite a few persons of the same name "V.K.Malhotra" stood as independent candidates from the same constituency in Delhi during Lok Sabha elections in order to mislead the masses. Such practices are meant to confuse people and make them cast their vote in favour of a candidate whom they never intended to vote.

3.3.4. In order to eliminate the problem altogether, and consistently with our recommendation regarding the requirement of 5% votes set out in para, it is considered appropriate to debar independent candidates as their participation in the elections has in no way contributed to strengthening of Indian democracy.

3.3.5. It is understood that 650 political parties are currently registered with the Election Commission of India (Times of India dated 6th may, 1999), whether recognised or not. By virtue of proposed new section 65A(1), a party would not get a seat in the House of the People if it gets less than 5% of the total valid votes cast in elections to that House.

This objective will be frustrated if independents are not barred from contesting, for, small splinter parties will not then take risk of contesting elections for fear of not being able to obtain 5% or more of the total valid votes cast in the said election to the House of the People. Candidates of such splinter parties would then safely prefer to contest as independent candidates. The barring of independent candidates will, therefore, be consistent with our recommendation to introduce a provision requiring receipt of minimum percentage of votes by the RPP to be able to get seats in the Lok Sabha.

Reform of The Electoral Laws Back

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