A sound election system is the basis of existence and functioning of a successful democracy. Moreover every task has its requirements. The requirements may be in the form of capabilities or some conditions. The pre-requisites or pre-conditions to represent the people of India are enlisted in various laws. This is extremely important since being the representative of the masses is no mean task. One should be reasonably decent so as to be accountable to for the needs and desires of the masses. Some of the pre-requisites to be a people’s representative are discussed below:- 1. Disqualification of membership of parliament or state legislature There is no particular qualification a citizen needs to possess in order to contest the elections. This makes everyone eligible which is not in the interest of the nation. The disqualifications aim to keep the people with criminal background or people who have been involved in corrupt practices away from being the representative. These disqualifications are mentioned from section 8 to section 10 of the Representative of People Act, 1951. All the disqualifications are mentioned below:- a. Disqualification on conviction of certain offences – Section 8 mentions a number of offences for which if a person is convicted and sentenced to not less than 2 years then he/she shall be disqualified for membership of parliament or state legislature from the date of conviction to 6 years after the date of release. The offences mentioned in the statute are:- |
i.offence of promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (section 153A of Indian Penal Code) ii. offence of bribery (section 171E of Indian Penal Code) iii.offence of undue influence or personating at an election (section 171F of Indian Penal Code) iv.offences relating to rape (section 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D of Indian Penal Code) v.offences relating to rape (section 376, 376A, 376B, 376C and 376D of Indian Penal Code) vi.offences of making statement creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes or offence relating to such statement in any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies. (section 505 of Indian Penal Code) vii.offences of preaching and practicing ‘untouchability’ (Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955) viii.offence of import or export of prohibited goods (Customs Act, 1962) ix. offence of being a member of an association declared unlawful, offence relating to dealing with funds of an unlawful association or offence relating to contravention of an order made in respect of a notified place (section 10 and 12 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967) x.any offence under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 xi.offence of promoting enmity between classes in connection with the election xii.offence of removal of ballot papers from polling stations xiii.offence of booth capturing xiv. offence of fraudulently defacing or fraudulently destroying any nomination paper xv.offence of conversion of a place of worship (Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991) xvi.offence of insulting the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India xvii.offence of prevention of singing of national anthem xviii.the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 xix.the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 b.Disqualification for dismissal for corruption or disloyalty – according to section 9, a person who has held the office of government of India or of any state and has been dismissed for corruption or disloyalty towards the state shall be disqualified for 5 years from the date of dismissal. c.Disqualification on failure of lodging election expenses – if a person fails to lodge his election expenses on time and has no justification of it then he shall be disqualified for 3 years from the date of order given by the election commission of India.
2.Filing of nomination paper and declarations to be made A candidate has to file a nomination paper to the returning officer in the prescribed form according to section 33 of Representative of People Act, 1951. The nomination paper should be signed by the candidate and an elector of the constituency as a proposer. In case the candidate is not authorized by a political party i.e. the candidate is contesting the elections as an independent then the nomination paper should be signed by the candidate and 10 electors of the constituency.
3.Right to information The right to information here means that the electors have all the rights to know about the candidates contesting the elections. For this provision has been made under section 33A. The candidates along with filing the nomination paper have to furnish information if they are accused of any offence punishable for over 2 years in a pending case where charge has been framed against them. The candidate also needs to furnish information if he has been convicted of any offence and been sentenced to imprisonment for over a year. Furthermore, the candidates should the moveable and immoveable assets as well as liabilities like bank loan of themselves as well as their spouses. The election commission uploads this on their website and gives access to people of such information so that the electors have a better basis of choosing their candidate. Such provisions were not there from the very beginning. These came into force after the Association for Democratic Reforms and another; with People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and another V. Union of India (UOI) and another case in 2002. The case was filed to make the electoral process more fair and equitable. It wanted the candidates to disclose their personal financial details as well as their assets and liabilities and also their criminal background so that the electors can judge their capabilities in a better way. The High Court of Delhi ruled that the electors have a fundamental right under article 19 of the constitution to know about the various aspects of their candidates and thus they were entitled to all such information. This decision was challenged in the Supreme Court but the apex court upheld the high court’s decision. Consequently the Representative of People Act, 1951 was amended to be in line with the decision and section 33, 33A and 33B were added. Section 33B states that the candidates cannot be forced to disclose any additional information apart from their criminal background. This means that the candidates cannot be forced to mention their assets and liabilities, educational qualification etc. the validity of 33B came into question in Union of Civil Liberties and another v/s Union of India and another. The Supreme Court deemed 33B as unconstitutional and reiterated that the electors have a fundamental right to know about the relevant information about the candidates.
Read this article: http://www.nationsroot.com/news-requirements-to-become-a-political-leader-in-india
Related Articles -
Indian politics, rape offence, low offence,