Topic– Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
3) The State Election Commission of Maharashtra has undertaken a series of electoral reforms in the last few years. Discuss.(250 words)
Why this question
Electoral reforms are much needed in India, given the importance of the elections in democracy and also given that our electoral processes are abound with many problems and ills. In this context it is important to discuss the progressive measures and reforms undertaken by the SEC of Maharashtra.
Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to write in detail about the reforms undertaken by the SEC of Maharashtra in recent years.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the various ills surrounding the electoral processes in India. E.g mention the influence of money and muscle power, criminalization of politics, reduced interest of the educated people in the democratic exercises as evident by low voter turnouts etc.
Discuss in points the reforms undertaken by the Maharashtra SEC in recent years. E.g
- It is the first one to go fully digital in the filing of nomination papers and affidavits of all candidates. It is also the first one to disqualify an elected representative for failure to comply with expense disclosure rules.
- Most importantly, it took a giant step recently by giving teeth to the idea of the NOTA (none of the above) button. If NOTA is the winner in any election in Maharashtra, there will be a mandatory re-poll. The Supreme Court mandated the NOTA option in all elections two years ago.
- Recently, the Supreme Court too, while dismissing a petition that asked to disqualify criminal candidates, prescribed that such tainted candidates be given prominent publicity. The law to disqualify anyone with a pending criminal case, especially if charged with heinous crimes like murder, rape or assault, can only be passed by Parliament. But in the interim, the SEC of Maharashtra has moved the needle by giving NOTA much needed teeth. It is up to the national ECI and other SECs to follow suit.
Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g Even so, India’s democracy has progressed and is more robust. Ultimately, there is no substitute for an educated, enlightened and vigilant voter.