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National Campaign for Electoral Reforms (NCER) (2002)

LOK SATTA's most recent and vital success is in the field of electoral reforms at the national level. LOK SATTA's Election Watch resulted in the successful public interest litigation by sister organizations. LOK SATTA's work was cited before courts, and finally it resulted in the landmark Supreme Court judgment on disclosures on May 2, 2002. LOK SATTA launched a national campaign, and in a short span of time achieved impressive results:

  • A broad national coalition - National Campaign for Electoral Reforms - has been formed, with LOK SATTA playing the lead role.
  • The Election Commission's order of June 28, providing for rejection of nominations for non-disclosure was largely a result of LOK SATTA's campaign.
  • The major political parties, notably Congress, which initially opposed disclosures, are now firmly in support of Supreme Court judgment.
  • LOK SATTA sensitized media all over the country and there is a quantum jump in public awareness and support for electoral reforms.
  • LOK SATTA took the lead in urging the President to intervene decisively and refer the matter to Supreme Court under Art 143. This advocacy succeeded to the extent that in a rare occurrence, the President sent back the Ordinance for the reconsideration of the cabinet.
  • The greatest success of LOK SATTA's campaign is in creating a national platform with tremendous possibilities for building future movement for comprehensive electoral and governance reforms.

Supreme Court Judgment of March 13th, 2003

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India upheld LOK SATTA's (and copetitioners PUCL and ADR) contention that section 33B of the RP Act, 1951 is violative of the constitution as it impinges on the voter's fundamental right to know. The court has further ruled that all candidates for legislative office should file a criminal and financial disclosure (assets & liabilities) statement at the time of their nomination. The Election Commission has issued orders to that effect on March 28th. This path breaking development is the result of LOK SATTA's long fight against criminalization of politics through its effective Election Watch movement. With this significant success, LOK SATTA has succeeded in putting Electoral reforms firmly on the national agenda.



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