‘Expedite Electoral Proposals’: CEC to Law Min on Pending Reforms
This includes a proposal seeking an extended 2-year jail term for those with wrong details in their poll affidavit.
In a letter addressed to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last month, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra urged expeditious action on the electoral reform proposals currently pending with the government. This includes the major proposal seeking an extended two-year jail term for those who have provided incorrect information in their poll affidavit.
Speaking to news agency PTI, Chandra said, “I have written to the law minister to expedite these proposals and hopefully they will be taken up early by the ministry.”
On the extension of the imprisonment period to two years, the CEC said, “The present six-month imprisonment does not lead to disqualification.”
A two-year prison sentence could restrain the candidate from contesting elections for six years.
Additionally, Election Commission has also proposed establishing paid news as an electoral offence under the Representation of the People Act, in an effort to mitigate malpractice, and has recommended a ban on political advertisements in newspapers during the “silence period” – the time between the end of campaign and the day of polling.
This aims to ensure that the electorate can exercise their rights in a democratic manner, and not be influenced.
Presently, only electronic media is prohibited from showing publicity material regarding elections in the 48 hours prior to the end of polling. However, a committee tasked with proposing changes has suggested bringing print media under the ambit of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, PTI reported.
The Chief Election Commissioner informed that another important proposal pending with the government pertains to linking electoral roll with the Aadhaar system, in order to identify and eliminate multiple enrolments, PTI reported.
Proposals Under Consideration: Prasad
In response to a question over the electoral proposals, Union Law Minister Prasad had said that the EC’s proposals were under consideration of the Centre and it would require amendments to electoral laws, PTI reported.
The EC had sent a proposal in August 2019 seeking to amend electoral laws to empower the electoral registration officers to obtain Aadhaar numbers of all present and future voters.
Since a Supreme Court order of 2015 makes it evident that a legal sanction is required to obtain the Aadhaar number, the Commission has proposed changes in electoral law, a poll body worker had recently explained.
(With inputs from PTI)
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