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Report No. 170

Part VI

Chapter I

Other Proposals in the working Paper

6.1.1. In this part we shall deal with certain other proposals put forward in Annexure I of our working paper. They are:

(a) Deletion of sections 11 and 11B of the R.P. Act.

(b) Amendment of section 33 of the R.P.Act.By introducing sub-section (7), it was sought to be provided that no person shall be entitled to contest simultaneously from more than one parliamentary constituency or assembly constituency, as the case may be. Similar provision was suggested with respect to the Council of States and Legislative Councils and even in bye-elections.

(c) Amendment of section 34 raising deposits in the case of independent candidates and candidates of unrecognised political parties.

(d) Amendment of section 58A in certain respects.

(e) Amendment of section 62 by inserting a proviso.

(f) Amendment of section 78 reducing the period prescribed for filing the account of election expenses by the contesting candidates from 30 days to 15 days.

(g) Amendment of sections 81, 86 and 87 relating to trial of election petitions.

(h) Amendment of section 97 in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court in Bhag Mal v. Parbhu Ram, AIR 1985 SC 150.

(i) Insertion of new sections 98A and 98B.

(j) Amendment of section 107.

(k) Amendment of section 116A.

(l) Omission of the proviso to sub-section (7) in section 123.

(m) Insertion of a new chapter II in part 7 of the R.P. Act, relating to 'Illegal Practices'.

(n) Insertion of section 126A.

(o) Insertion of another proviso to section 151A.

(p) Insertion of new section 162A.

It may be mentioned that the proposals with respect to enhancing the punishments provided by sections 127, 134B, 135 and 136 of the R.P.Act and by various offences in chapter IXA of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, have already been affirmed and recommendations made to implement the same.)

6.1.2. So far as the proposals under (a) to (p) are concerned, no objection has been taken to any of the said proposals by anyone, except with respect to the proposal to enhance the deposit in the case of independents and candidates of unrecognised political parties (by amending section 34 of the Act). Shri Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer strongly opposed the said proposal on the ground that such a provision would discourage not only the independents but unrecognised political parties from contesting the elections on an equal footing with the recognised political parties.

The Law Commission is, however, unable to agree with the opinion of Justice Iyer, notwithstanding the great respect we have for his views. there have been numerous instances in the past where scores of independents entered the election fray for various oblique reasons. In case of certain constituencies, the number of contesting candidates was anywhere between 30 to 50. The matter had reached ridiculous proportions. The ballot paper had to be as big as a newspaper sheet.

Apart from the fact that most of these independent candidates are not serious candidates, the very principle of parliamentary form of government requires that independents should not be encouraged. The facts and figures relating to previous elections to Lok Sabha or, for that matter, to Legislative Assemblies, show that the percentage of independent candidates succeeding is approximately 0.3% in the case of Twelfth Lok Sabha.

As stated earlier, in Dhartipakar v. Rajiv Gandhi, AIR 1987 SC 157, the Supreme Court also recommended to Parliament to devise ways and means to meet the onslaught of independent candidates who are not serious about their business. Enhancing the deposits could have been one method by which such independent candidates and candidates of unrecognised political parties could be discouraged from entering the election fray in a lighthearted and casual manner or for oblique reasons.

We have, however, gone further and decided to recommend in chapter III of Part III above that independent candidates should be altogether eliminated from the political scene in India and thereby pave the way for meaningful electoral reforms. In such a case, amendment of section 34 as suggested by us is unnecessary.

Reform of The Electoral Laws Back

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