Monday, October 4, 2010

Recommendations - "Electoral Integrity- Need of the hour" Sat 9th Oct 2010"

Open House to be held on Oct 09, 2010, flier for the event on www.5thpillar.org

Memorandum to Chief Election Commissioner that is to be submitted will have the following Recommendations:

1.       Combating Money-Power and Bribing of Voters
a.       Mechanism for effective monitoring & accounting of election expenditure by candidates and time-bound remedial action
It is necessary to put in place a mechanism for closer monitoring, better accounting and book keeping of election expenses incurred by candidates/ parties. This has to be followed to its logical conclusion by disqualification of candidates who either do not maintain accounts
properly or incur expenses in excess of the ceiling limit.

b.      Making ‘Observers of the Election Commission’ as an effective instrument to combat money-power
The Observers act as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Commission during the period of the election and provide direct inputs to the Commission from the field. Generally, the Election Commission of India appoints senior officers of the Government from the I.A.S, I.F.S and other Central Services like IRS, IC & CES as Observers.

c.       Citizen’s Observers to supplement ‘Official Observers’
In addition to the ‘Official Observers’ appointed by the Commission, there is a need to have ‘Citizens’ Observers’ to perform the same role except they will not have statutory powers but can still function as the eyes and ears of the Election Commission and provide direct inputs from the field to the Election Commission/ CEO/ Observers/ DEO/ RO on the violations of the Model Code and distribution of cash and gifts (including tokens) or/ and the possible likely violations/ distribution and also on whether action was taken or not taken to check it.

d.      [Countermanding/] postponement of elections in constituencies wherein Model Code of Conduct has been blatantly violated.
In constituencies where massive money power was deployed and where there is large- scale distribution of cash or other gifts, because of which ‘result of the election is likely to be affected’, the Election Commission should [countermand or] postpone the elections. This will send a strong message to the ‘cash-and-carry candidates’ who are destroying the credibility of the electoral process.

e.      Ensuring impartial ‘command & control’ over the State police force.
Combating of money/muscle-power and strict enforcement of Model Code of Conduct during elections depends in large measure on the way the State electoral machinery including the police force performs its duty. The members of Civil Services should be free from political control, but in actual practice, a number of senior officers sub-serve the political interests of their political masters, either with a view to seek a posting in plum posts or to retain themselves in these posts. They lack the intellectual integrity expected of civil servants in important positions. The Commission should obtain intelligence on the functioning of the election related officers.

f.        Effective intelligence gathering and surveillance to detect large-scale distribution of cash or other gifts


2.       Information, Education and Communication [IEC]
a.       One of the most effective ways of checking the adverse effects of bribing of voters and changing their mindset is by taking up an intensive IEC campaign. Making use of the Media (Internet, television, radio etc to its full capacity) and involve the Non Profit organizations, corporate etc to assist in such efforts.

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