Law Panel Report On Electoral Reforms Long Overdue

The induction of four MLAs who had defected from YSRC into the State Cabinet

Hyderabad: The induction of four MLAs who had defected from YSRC into the State Cabinet by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday has become the subject of intense discussion among political circles.

Many opposition leaders were highly critical of Naidu’s action who always speaks of moral standards in life, ethics in politics, democratic values, and who calls himself as a paragon of virtue. Needless to say that Naidu’s only objective now is to win 2019 elections by hook or crook and see that the TD form the government again. To achieve this, he resorted to ‘poaching’ and luring strong leaders from other parties.

Apart from leaders of Congress, TRS and the Left parties, even the Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who is considered a close friend and staunch supporter of Chief Minister, has openly opposed the latter’s action in inducting defectors into the Cabinet.

Venkaiah Naidu has stated that lawmakers who defected from one party to the other should first resign from all their posts and then join another political party. He expressed concern over defection of elected representatives to other parties to get positions of power.

It is quite pertinent to mention in this context that, for obvious reasons, the Central government had kept the recommendations made by the Law Commission in regard to electoral reforms in cold storage for more than two years now, which gave scope for many undesirable, unethical and undemocratic and immoral actions by the leaders to suit their convenience.

It may be recalled that shifting loyalty from one party to the other, particularly the ruling party to get positions, amounts to betraying the people who had elected him and also deceiving the party which gave him ticket to contest the elections.

The Law Commission had, in its report submitted to the Union Law Ministry on March 12, 2015, made it clear that the matter relating to disqualification of members elected to Parliament and the State Legislatures should not be left to the discretion of the Speaker (Lok Sabha or State Assemblies), but it should be vested with the Election Commission, instead.

The commission recommended that the EC should recommend disqualification, after hearing the version of the members concerned to the President in case of Lok Sabha member, or to the Governor in case of Assembly member; and the President/Governor should have the final power in the matter.

The commission recommended a Constitution amendment be made to this effect. The commission further suggested that while amending the Act in this regard, a time frame also should be stipulated within which the EC and later the President/Governor should take a call on the complaints filed seeking disqualification of a member. Why the Centre failed to act on the recommendations of the Law Commission in such a vital matter is a million dollar question.

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