Monday, July 29, 2013

Proportionate representation in political system stressed

The need for electoral reforms and cleansing of the democratic system was stressed by the speakers at the Indian Association of Lawyers (IAL) sponsored seminar on the pros and cons of the Supreme Court judgement on ‘Representation of People Act’,- that called for preventing criminal politicians from either continuing or contesting in elections. Representatives from various political parties attended the seminar and shared their opinions on the new development.

A Chakrapani, Chairman, AP Legislative Council, Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, CPI General Secretary, Jayaprakash Narayan, MLA and Lok Satta President, S Veeraiah, CPI (M) Central Committee Member, A Narasimha Reddy, Chairman, Bar Council of AP, M Rajender Reddy, former Chairman, Bar Council of AP, AV Krishna Rao, President, IAL City Committee and Chalasani Ajay Kumar, Working President of IAL, spoke at the seminar, which was attended by many advocates.

Suravaram Sudhakar, CPI General Secretary observed that the act can be misused against the social activists who fight for the peoples’ movements, by arresting and jailing them, which would disqualify them from serving in political office. He said that sincere people may distance themselves from active politics because of the act. He opined that the ever-prolonging judicial process in disposing cases off needed to change and that the cases involving politicians needed to be expedited within a year. He felt that the judges needed to be made accountable for the disposal of cases. He said that ‘Damasha (proportionate representation) system’ was the only way forward, if the sad state of political system needed to change.

A Chakrapani felt that the act can be misused by the ruling party and said that electoral reforms were necessary and that the democratic process had to be cleaned first. Jayaprakash Narayan, MLA and Lok Satta chief supported the judgement saying that it was very carefully delivered according to the various acts defined in the framework of our constitution and the current political situation. The judgement which says that a person under lawful police custody cannot contest elections could be misused. He suggested that an ‘advisory board’ should be appointed in order to perform enquiry on very serious offences within 15 days before arriving at a conclusion about disqualifying an individual from contesting elections.

He also said that the society needed to move away from caste, money and muscle politics and that strong electoral reform were needed to correct the political process. He felt that there cannot be a situation where there is obstruction of justice by those in power.

BJP leader K Laxman said that even the local body elections, which were supposed to be free of political influence, have become polluted. He felt that mere acts were not enough and that proper implementation was necessary. He too echoed that it was high-time ‘Damasha system’ needed to be followed in getting peoples’ representation in the political system. He opined that voting needed to be made mandatory.

The former and the present Bar Council Chairmen felt that the act cannot be looked at in isolation and that it had to be viewed in an integrated way. They decided that a national seminar had to be organised, involving advocates and judges of Supreme Court, various political parties in order to study the consequences of the judgement thoroughly and come up with a concrete proposal and submit it to the Government.

Courtesy: The Hans India

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