clear from a careful reading of the Bill is that:
This Bill is drafted with an express intent to nullify the
SC judgment of 2nd May and the EC order of June 28.
2. The EC's jurisdiction under Art 324 is sought to be nullified
in respect of any disclosures in future.
3. The new disqualification is only for two separate charges
framed for extremely grave offences like murder, rape or dacoity
- that too prior to six months before nomination. Meaning
that if a person has committed one murder or one rape, he
is still eligible to contest. Meaning that scrutiny begins
only when a person is into his second murder or rape. Meaning
that a candidate is not disqualified if charged by a competent
court for the offence of a murder or rape only a few months
(ie less than six months) before election. Meaning that a
candidate who has committed a second rape or murder will not
be disqualified if the criminal proceeding against him is
stayed by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. The
Bill in effect is an attempt in legal language to give an
impression to the lay person that some effort is being made
to curb criminalization of politics. The net effect of this
provision will be marginal at best and in fact this is a red
herring to draw attention away from disclosure of financial
details, which the government is hell bent on avoiding.
If this law stands as it is, there is no possibility of future
disclosures of candidate's assets and liabilities.
Bill raises some genuine concerns which civil society should
Does the legislature have the right to abridge the citizens'
fundamental right to information which is guaranteed under
Art 19 of the Constitution?
2. What happens if a candidate commits a second murder just
a few months before the election and is charged with the offence
by a competent court? Have we come to such a sorry pass that
even for extremely gave offences, if charges are framed within
six months prior to nomination, the candidate cannot be disqualified
? And do we require two such separate offences to think of
disqualifying a candidate? Is this a rehabilitation programme
for hardened criminals?
can we do? Plenty. Irrespective of the outcome on legislative
and legal fronts, informed and assertive citizenry can make
disclosures through civil society initiatives and media support
a reality. We have the power to stop this absurd bill that
allows those who have committed more than one murder or rape
to be disqualified. No law prevents us from institutionalizing
disclosures through citizens' efforts.
efforts in the last few months are not a waste. We are much
better off than we were a few months ago. Electoral reform
is now occupying center stage in public domain. Media is taking
up the issue of clean elections very seriously. The cause
of democracy has received a great boost. If we act with clarity,
conviction and a strategic sense, we may yet get full disclosures
as a fundamental right, irrespective of any legislation. The
battle has only begun.
job one is doing right now can be more important than safeguarding
our own rights, liberty and life. If we do not act now, we
forfeit the right to criticize the politicians and should
actually take partial responsibility for the sorry state of