ECI sends 6 proposals to Centre seeking many electoral reforms
Rajiv Kumar—who took office as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India last month—has requested the Law Ministry to issue a notification for linking voters' Aadhaar with voter IDs, reported The Indian Express. He also sought to give eligible people four qualifying dates to register as voters. In fact, the Election Commission of India (ECI) recently sent six proposals to the Centre seeking several reforms.
- The pitch for electoral reforms by the Election Commission has reportedly been increasing ever since Kumar, a veteran IAS officer and former Finance Secretary, was appointed as India's 25th Chief Election Commissioner on May 15.
- To recall, during his inauguration speech last month, he stated that he would "not shy away from taking tough decisions" with regard to reforms as well as conducting polls.
Besides seeking rules for Aadhaar-voter ID linkage and four cut-off dates for voter registration from the Centre, CEC Kumar has reportedly reiterated the Election Commission's proposals for forbidding opinion and exit polls after taking charge. He also sought to limit the number of seats from which a candidate can contest the elections to only one seat.
"The EC sent six key proposals to the Law Ministry," an ECI official told TIE on the condition of anonymity. "We have requested the government to notify the rules for linkage of Aadhaar to voter IDs and also for the four cut-off dates for eligible people to register as voters," they added. The EC also sought the authority to deregister political parties—a longstanding demand.
In its 2016 handbook of proposed electoral reforms, the ECI noted, "Many political parties get registered, but never contest election." "The possibility of forming political parties with an eye on availing...income tax exemption also cannot be ruled out." "It would only be logical that the commission, which has the power to register political parties, is also empowered to deregister in appropriate cases," it stated.
The ECI also reportedly recommended a ban on exit and opinion polls during elections. Moreover, it also sought restrictions on conducting and publicizing the outcomes of opinion polls from the day the election is first announced until it is completed in all of its phases.
The ECI also requested the Centre that Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, be amended to limit the number of seats from which a candidate can run. Currently, the Act allows a condidate to contest any election—parliamentary, state assembly, biennial council, or bye-elections—from up to two constituencies . The ECI proposed an amendment to Section 33(7) in 2004 as well.
Furthermore, the ECI has requested that Form 24A be amended to mandate political parties to submit details of all donations exceeding Rs. 2,000 instead of Rs. 20,000. Notably, the ECI's proposals to the Centre follow its clean-up initiative launched last month against 2,100 "registered unrecognized political parties" for rule violations, like failing to submit contribution reports and notify the ECI of any party-related changes.