Does India need tough electoral reforms?

Political Party Manifestos in India have no legally binding nature. Promising glittering future for the middle and poor class people during election campaigns and adopting the policies that draw severe public protest, after getting elected has become routine habit for political parties in the country.

India is the second largest Democracy in the world after United States of America, but, while United States is Presidential Democracy, India is a Parliamentary Democracy. Both nations have been suffering from certain merits and demerits in their political systems. As far as India is concerned, already much criticism has been spread by the print and electronic media in the past half century, on the malfunctioning of the Democratic system, corruption of Political Parties, electoral malpractices, and major economic scams done by the political parties when they had wielded power at State or National levels. So there is no need to criticise again and again this legitimacy eroded political system. What is required is how to control the Political Parties which are duping the public again and again after coming into power, and showing their finger at the ruling party when they are in opposition and resorting to same practices when they have seized the power. This is all due to the unmatured and underdeveloped electoral process established in post-independence period.

By and large adoption of the system of Parliamentary Democrcy had become inevitable for this nation, but attempts were never made to correct the persisting lacunas in the political system. The people who are in politics and outside the politics both are least ‘Good’ in insisting for corrections, as persistence of such lacunas are beneficial for their political survival. If system is perfect, then wielding political power becomes remote dream for many mob leaders. Making false promises orally to public, in election campaigns and after capturing the power, adopting and introducing quite different policies, which have no public approval, has become a routine practice/fashion for the political parties in the country. This is all because of the reason that POLITICAL PARTY MANIFESTOS IN INDIA HAVE NO LEGALLY BINDING NATURE AND HAVE NO LEGITIMATE CHARACTER. There are still no specific Party Constitutions for the major Political parties both at National and Regional levels in India.  Promising glittering future for the middle and poor class people and adopting the policies or passing laws or executive orders that draw severe public protest, that promote the personal and commercial interests of Business communities has become routine habit for all political parties in the country.

Now what is badly required for PUBLIC WELFARE and to uphold the WELFARE STATE CONCEPT is to bind over all the Political Parties before going to election campaigns for implementation of their PARTY MANIFESTOS, stating in writing their specific adoptable socio-economic-administrative policies, if they are voted to power, and submitting them to ELECTION COMMISSION or before the SUPREME COURT OF INDIA or before the respective STATE HIGH COURTS by filing PARTY MANIFESTO AFFIDAVITS by the respective Presidents/General Secretaries and Office bearers of the Political parties.


1)       Every Political Party President and General Secretaries of that Party must file a Legally Valid Affidavit, before the Election Commission or Supreme Court, about their PARTY MANIFESTO with details of the socio-economic policies they are going to adopt if they are voted to power by the people.

2)       Political Parties must be legally prohibited by the Election Commission or Supreme Court to adopt any policy that is not mentioned the PARTY MANIFESTO AFFIDAVIT, that has no public approval or popular detest. For Example: Poor peoples Agricultural Land acquisition for the sake of promoting harmful and environmentally dangerous industries must be declared illegal, if it is not already declared before the public in their Party Manifesto and in their election campaigns.

3)       Every National Political Party Manifesto must be widely publicized by displaying in the form of PARTY MANIFESTO AFFIDAVIT, in all regional languages in every nook and corner of the country, from Gram Panchayat (local village government), District level Offiers and State level government offices and in Rural Development Welfare bodies, so as to be understood by the local people, what policies are going to be adopted by that party, if they are voted to power, by the people.

4)       Any policy or Executive Order or law passed by the Political Party voted into power, which is not mentioned in the PARTY MANIFESTO AFFIDAVIT must be declared as null and void by the Supreme Court.

5)       National level Political Parties must also declare and explain in understandable language to the public, their Foreign Policy Approach, and also the Economic Policies to be adopted with reference to and in relationship with global organizations and foreign countries, and must widely distribute the pamphlets containg their Party Manifesto, with their party President’s Signature and seal.

6)       State level Regional Political parties and Sub-Regional political parties must also declare and widely publicise their economic policies and reforms to be adopted in their PARTY MANIFESTO AFFIDAVIT, during the election campaigns and must widely distribute the pamphlets containg their Party Manifesto, with their party President Signature and seal.

7)       Every Political Party manifesto must invariably declare in their AFFIDAVIT their clear cut policy on common man’s essentials like Petrolium, Diseal, Kerosin, Gas prices, electricity charges, Public Transportation taxes/charges, Price Control Policy, irrespective of global market changes, Agricultural policies, employment policy, Taxes to be imposed on State subjects at state level and on central subjects by National parties and populistic schems to be adopted.  Any drastic deviations of policies from the Party Manifesto Affidvit or the policy that invite vehement public protest must be declared as illegal by the Supreme Court or respective State Higher Courts, without no second look.  

8)       ELECTION COMMISSION MUST BE GIVEN QUSI-JUDICIAL POWERS to take important decisions, whenever required in the situations that will arise when the Public Representative resigns from ther posts, or when ever they defect the parties.

9)       When the Election Commission is officially the declaring/recognising authority, when a People Representative is elected to a State Legislature or Parliament, the power of accepting or not accepting  the resignation of a Peoples Representative must also be given to the Election Commission. (For example: when an employee is recruited by an employer, the employer is vested with the power of dismissal of the employee also, if misconduct is found with employee or to accept the resignation of that employee if he desires so). So any resignation of People’s Representative must be submitted to the Election Commission of the Nation, as he the recognizing/announcing/declaring authority of the election of a political candidate.  Because the Peoples Representatives this country are being paid monthly salaries and other allowances and also getting pension after their tenure is over, like any other government employee in the government, every Peoples Representative would also fall under the ambit of Employer-Employee Relation. The very nature of this system implies that Election Commission is the Employer on behalf of the majority people aand the Peoples Representative is the Emoployee recruited/declared as elected by the Election Commission. More over Peoples Representatives are also coming under the meaning ‘Public Servent’ and also falls with in the purview of Anti-corruption laws in the country, like any other government employee.

10)    Therefore submission of the resignations of the Peoples Representative to the Speaker of the respective State Legislatures or Parliament is quite contradictory to the principle/theory of Employer and Employee relations. Because, Speaker of a State Legislature or Parliament is not an officially declaring/recognising authority of the election of a Peoples Representative, therefore vesting the power of accepting the resignation of Peoples’ Representative is inconsistent with the Authority-Subordinate relation theory. So this practice must also be re-looked and necessary reforms must be brought in this aspect.

11)    The recent experience of heckling the Democratic Election process by some Peoples Representative of the State of Andhra Pradesh, by resigning from their Membership of State Legislatures and Parliament after getting elected to the Houses, from time to time or threatening to resign if their political demands are not met with, have taught a lesson to us that, how they are misusing the mandate given by the public for their political gains, by resorting to ‘resignation and inviting bye-elections’ game to cause heavy expenditure on public exchequer. So, if a Peoples Representative resigns for no good reason or to defect the party from which s/he elected, no bye-election should be conducted to that vacant seat, but the next person who acquired the hightest votes must be declared as Official Peoples Representative, automatically by the Election Commission. So that bye-election expenditure can be avoided and party defections can also be effectively checked.

12)    Every independent candidate who is contesting election must also file his/her promises made to public in the election campaing in the form of Affidavit before the Election Commission or the High Court in States.

Introduction of these reforms would promote the healthy and effective Parliamentary Democracy and Rule of Law and would considerably lessen the Political corruption and put an effective check on Political parties by preventing them from introducing unpopular or anti-people policies by violating their own Party Manifestos declared during the elections campaigns, after coming into power. By dchaitanya.