1019 Stat. Res. re. disapproval of Representation of People (Amend.) Ordinance and
[Sh. Ramesh Chenithala]
5 lakh the expenditure bill of only Rs. 45,000/ -is submitted. After entering into Parliament, some of our hon. Colleagues make wrong statements whereas we have come here after taking the oath in the name of God.
Regarding voters' lists, our hon. colleagues have just said that they are generally incorrect. Complaints to this effect are received from many States. It has become necessary to ponder over this question. There is a need to change the system followed by Government to update the voters' lists.
Every citizen should be provided an opportunity to fight the election. The Government should think over it and provide funds to them for this prospose. The Government should come forward with a Bill providing for at least 14 days time for election propaganda, at the earliest.
The Election Commission has given suggestions about the deposits and these have been forwarded to the Government. Efforts should be made to increse deposits. A lot has been said about booth capturing.
The penalty for booth capturing should also be increased. We don't get maximum protection in awry election. Two policemen are posted on a booth but they are unable to control the situation. It is very essential to provide protection to the common voters when they come to the booth.
I would like to say one thing about the election symbol. I have fought four elections two Assembly election and two Parliamentary elections. I have observed that most of the Symbols are so similar that they create a confusion in the mind of voters. The symbol of motor-cycle , and bicycle are very similar, thus the voters are confused.
AN HON. MEMBER: We lost five seats for this confusion between motorcycle arid bicycle.
------------------------------------------------------------------------- Representation of 1020 People (Amend.) Bill As passed by Rajya Sabha
SHRI RAMESH CHENNITHALA: The candidates are also influenced by electronic media. So they should also be allowed to use them. There are many more things to be mentioned. I would also like to mention that the Dinesh Goswami Committee was formed during the erstwhile Parliament which presented some recommendations to the Government.
You should consider those recommendations. It should be sincerely considered in this House.
I support this Bill but I would like to state that a comprehensive Bill should be brought. This issue is not only related to Punjab alone you should consider it in a wider context.
(Interruptions). It should not be given a political colour, we should work for the reformation in election-system by rising above the party politics.
colleagues, Shrimati Malini Bhattacharya who has spoke on the Bill in Bengali, I would like to speak a few words on this particular Bill in Bengali.
At the outset, I must say that I, on behalf of my party, CPI(M), would like to oppose this Bill.
Till now in the Representation of Peoples' Act Bill, the provision was due to the death of any candidate contesting the election after the election process starts, the election will be countermanded.
Now the amendments in the bill are that from now onwards election will be countermanded only in the death of a candidate belonging to some recognized political party. In the death of any independent candidate, election will not be countermanded. Election process will continue. Our friend from Congress (1) Shri Ballav Panigrahi was right in saying that most of the Independent Candidates contesting the election are not serious candidates. They do not take election that much seriously. Those candidates
1021 Stat. Res. re. disapproval of Representation of People (Amend.) Ordinance and
as he puts it, become the soft target of the terrorist. But the difficulty is that the moment this Bill is passed these people will become softer target. Precisely for this reason I would like to oppose the Bill.
Now, suppose a terrorist group plans to scuttle an election.
Countermanding an election does not mean.
Just to make the election statutorily countermanded, they can create an atmosphere of violence and that can be created by killing one or the other independent candidate.
Besides there is one more trouble. Suppose two candidates, one belonging to a recognised party and the other an Independent , are contesting the election in a constituency. I hope, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will realise the problem that may arise in this situation. In the death of the Independent candidate, the candidate belonging to the only recognised political part will win. In the prevailing situation in the country and the state of affairs in most of the re-cognised political parties, it is not difficult to countermand election in this way. So the purpose of the Bill-to curb terrorism won't be served. Moreover we have right to equality in our constitution. By passing this Bill, we will violate that constitutional right to equality also. Because this right to equality is guaranted to all citizens and we can not check any Independent candidate from contesting the election. They will contest the election anyway. Then we have to remember that the terrorists have the support of many powerful forces even from outside. Is it possible that the number of Independent candidate is increasing so that the election is held in a violent and disturbed atmosphere? In this bill Sir, the lacunae of the election process would continue. What he have been witnessing till now is, the prevalence of Muscle and money power.
We cannot forget particularly the election of west Bengal in 1972. We cannot forget that allegations of rigging have been raised against the constituency of our former Prime Minister, either one time Rai Barilley or Amethi or the Nandyal of our present
Representation of 1022 People (Amend.) Bill As passed by Rajya Sabha Prime Minister. Whether the allegation is true or false, I do not want to discuss. The question is how to plug these loopholes in the election process. For this we need a comprehensive Bill, We do not want that type of outregions fill in the name of solving matters in piece meal way. The amusing part is that who is responsible to create this terrorism?
You are first creating terrorism through your action and inaction and then you are coming up with so many Bills in the name of wiping out terrorism. This is very funny. And it is for this reason, we cannot support this Bill.
SHRI D. VENKATESWARA RAO (Bapatla): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, the Amendment to Section 52 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 says that:
"If an independent candidate dies, the election will not be countermanded."
Sir, in principle, I oppose this because it is affecting the fundamental rights as far as my knowledge goes. According to the Con- stitution, every individual has got a right to vote according to his will and also to get elected to any of these Legislatures. Here, this Amendment is violating the fundamental right henceforth, it is not proper to bring forward such an Amendment. Maybe, the Government has brought forward this Bill because of the situation in Punjab and to get their candidates elected as early as possible. But at the same time, they did not see the reprecussions involved in this Amendment.
Sir, my friends Shri Nitish Kumar and others have quoted the examples of many people who got elected to this House as independents.
Many eminent people have got elected to this House as independents.
Such type of facility is being violated while bringing this kind of Amendment. Instead of
1023 Stat. Res. re. dis-
approval of Representation of
People (Amend.) Ordinance and
[Sh. D. Venkateswara Rao]
bringing in this type of Amendment, they are bringing in this type of Amendment, I do not know much about the second part of the Ordinance.
As far as my knowledge goes, it will reduce the time limit from 21 days to 15 days. That would have been a better proposal, if they have introduced it here in this Bill.
You know very well how much money is involved and how much time is wasted while campaigning for 21 days. This could have been avoided if you have come forward with this type of Bill. On the other hand, as all of us are aware, you are trying to bring forward a comprehensive Bill regarding Electoral Reforms in this august House.
It was told in this House many times that a comprehensive Bill will be brought forward in this House. So many meetingss have taken place.
You know very well that in 1990 a Committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Dinesh Goswami. At that time, he was the Law Minister. They have recommended so many things including delimitation of constituencies, appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, other Election Commissioners, rotation of the constituencies, etc.
All these matters are pending before us.
Leaving all this aside, we have rushed towards a hasty decision whereby we are violating the fundamental rights; we are avoiding an opportunity that is being given by the Constitution to every individual of this country to got elected to Assemblies, Parliament and other bodies.
While bringing out such a type of Bill, I would like to advise the hon. Minister, the Government to bring out a comprehensive Bill whereby all the relevant problems can be met in that Bill like booth capturing, rigging, money power, appointment of an Election Commissioner and delimitation of the constituencies. All these matters can be brought out in a comprehensive Bill. So, with these words, I oppose the Bill.
1024. Representation of
People (Amend.) Bill As passed by Rajya Sabha
SHRI RAMASHRAY PRASAD SINGH (Jahanabad): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, a now article is to be brought in the place of article 52 of Representation of People Act 1951. Elections are withheld in case a candidate dies before the holding of elections. Now by bringing this Bill election will not be postponed in case an independent candidate dies or is killed. It is clearly an assault on the dignity of the Constitution. Every one has got a constitutional right to contest election. This right is being assaulted. The greatest point is that the independent candidate who is popular is done away with by money and muscle power because they are good candidate and there by ensures his victory with the fear of the postponment of election. They were already apprehensive of such danger. Another danger that has been added is, if a candidate from the national parties is apprehensive of some danger, particularly when someone wants the postponment of election. The Government has the responsibility of providing protection to all. When you are protecting the candidates of national parties, is it not your responsibility to protect the independent candidate? There is nothing like this in the constitution. It is envisaged in the constitution that providing of protection is the duty of the Government. You have made it clear that you cannot protect them.
The Second thing is the Congressmen were deprived of party tickets, the same man fought and won the election defeating the party candidates. There are dozens of such cases. This Bill has been framed under such circumstances. More so, far such conditions as are prevailing in the Punjab. There was, therefore, no need for bringing this Bill. The Government could hold election by passing ordinance when the question of Kashmir comes. There was no need to bring such a Bill. If you were interested in the survival of democracy,you should have brought amendment in the entire election code, From the beginning all parties are demanding this. But they do not intend to do so. Now democracy is in great danger. They should have brought this Bill in the House. Terrorism has fast
1025 Stat. Res. re. dis- approval of Representation of People (Amend.) Ordinance and
increased because of the irregularities in election. Mr. Deputy- Speaker, Sir, you are also coming after having won the election and so am I. Let us consider truthfully whether the really poor, the weaker and oppressed sections participate in the election or not. They are prevented by money and power. Handful of people cost all the votes of the village. That is why terrorism and exteremism is spreading. We have got such an election system that it does not ensure real representation. I would like to suggest that this Bill should be withdrawn. It should be restricted only upto the Punjab and Kashmir and it should not be made applicable to the whole country. There is not particular gain by this Bill and it is endangering the original constitution.
SHRI OSCAR FERNANDES (Udupi): I thank you for calling me to speak on this Bill. I rise to support this amendment. This amendment should have been brought much earlier and I am sure that this amendment will strengthen the party system.
A point has been made that this will go against the Fundamental Rights of an individual. No individual is prevented to contest an election as an independent.
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES: It may be discrimanatory.
SHRI OSCAR FERNANDES: He is not supported by any party. He is contesting-but in the process if he dies, then any other person, if he wanted to contest he would be also contesting in the election as an independent candidate. And the very fact that he has not contested means that there is no other person who is interested in contesting.
The purpose of holding an election should not be defeated and it should also help in building the party system.
SHRI ANIL BASU (Aramgarh): If there is one independent and one party candidate, what happens?
Representation of 1026 People (Amend) Bill As passed by Rajya Sabha
SHRI OSCAR FERNANDES: Right. Then the election will be held.
The basic thing is you have to help in building a healthy political system. The party system has to be developed. That is why what we feel is that in a country like ours, which is a vast country, there must be stability in the country, elections should be fought on the basis of a manifesto, a programme, a commitment, whether is at the State level or at the national level. The people should feel that when an election takes place they are to be ruled by the party which comes to power for a full term.
SHRI SRIKANTA JENA: Only the symbol and not the party !
SHRI OSCAR FERNANDES: It is not so. It is the party and the individual both, are to be taken into account.
What has been said in the Bill is that when a party candidate dies, then only it need be countermanded. And if an independent candidate contests and he dies the election should not be countermanded. That is the whole purpose of the Bill. In many elections we have seen. that just to see that the process of election is stalled, a man who is almost made to live on oxygen is made to Me the nomination and when he dies the whole election is countermanded.
The purpose of holding the election is defeated. This should not be allowed. Non-serious people should not hold the country to ransom crtake it as a fun. May be a party candidate himself may feel that a dummy who is about to die is contesting and wants to stall the propects; of the winning candidate. That should not be allowed. So, I feel that this Bill has been brought in the right spirit. There are many other things which affect the national life. A comprehensive electoral reform Bill will have to be thought of and brought before the Parliament for passing. So, this Bill could be a step towards that. I request our hon. Minister to see that a comprehensive Bill is also brought while we pass this Bill.
I support this Bill.
1027 Stat. Res. re. disapproval of Representation of people (Amend) Ordinance and
PROF. RASA SINGH RAWAT (Ajmer): Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Sir, the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill 1992 has been brought, it is related to the replacement of the article 52 of Representation of People Act 1951. This Bill is, as I think. quite contrary to the original Bill. A provision that has been made in Representation of People Act that only the candidates of Political parties or the people nominated by them can contest election and the independent cannot participate in it. And if independent candidate do contest election, the election will not be countermanded in case of the death of an independent candidate. Others are getting protection while they are being denied that; they are, however, also the citizens of India and they also contest election under the same rules of the same Constitution. It really calls for deep thinking and wide consultations. What would happen if an able and wise person who wishes to win election as a independent candidate without the label of any political party but having the support thereof, dies? The Representations of People (Amendment) Bill 1952 has been brought in a great hurry because election in Punjab was to be conducted anyhow in the situation that prevails there. I would like to make it very clear to the Government that our Constitutional institutions should neither be disregarded nor made a puppet. Whichever party comes to power, it misuses the election Commission, Governors and other institutions.
Those days it was stated through the ordinance of the President that independent candidate can contest election.
SHRI NITISH KUMAR-(Barh): I am on a Point of Order. The quorum is not complete.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: The bell is being rung.
MR. DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Now there is a quorum.
Representation of 1028 People (Amend.) Bill As passed by Rajya Sabha [Translation]
SHRI GEORGE FERNANDES (Muzzaffarpur): Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we do not deny that we walked out of the House since afternoon we have been trying to convince the Government about this-Vill. Many Members from our party held talks, with the hon. Minister. Many hon.