It would not be out of place to effect some fundamental changes in the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA) and other laws that govern our governance system.
Abdul Qadir | Clarion India
WHILE fly-by-night politicians are para dropped in our political system, dedicated workers are left to do the chores for party bosses, the need for a thorough review of our political system is being felt all the more eagerly. Being essentially status quoits, there appears to be a tacit understanding among the mainstream political parties to short circuit the normal grooming practices and put moneyed and muscled hooligans in the legislative bogies ignoring the claims of loyal activists who religiously nurture the party.
At this stage, it would not be out of place to effect some fundamental changes in the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA) and other laws that govern our governance system. Proportional representation is not the answer at this point of time as it would further strengthen the vice-like grip of party leadership that lacks transparency as well as accountability. The changes may be as follows:
Every political party must maintain a list of its active members along with the personal details of such members, share the same with EC and put it on its website. Updating the same at regular intervals should be made mandatory.
Only active members of five-year standing should be considered for holding electoral positions like MP, MLA, etc. Regular training of party activists in social work and governance models must be ensured in order to make them aware of the shortcomings and steps required to overcome these hurdles.
Aspirants of Parliament/assembly membership facing charges of rape, murder, attempted murder, molestation, fraud etc. should be made to seek clearance from a state-level tribunal comprising a retired high court judge and other eminent members of the civil society who may take into account the prosecutability nature of evidence and other relevant facts of the case, the likely outcome and chances of false implications and fabrication of evidence.
While nominating tainted candidates, political parties should give reasons for their selection, and trial in such cases should be completed and judgment pronounced within one year of being elected.
Political parties must be heavily penalised in case any of its members holding a legislative position gets convicted by the trial court for serious severe offences particularly financial corruption and sexual crimes. The penalty may include black listing and de-recognition for serial offenders among the parties.
There must also be a cooling-off period of at least five years and only after the completion of this period, political deserters may be considered for party positions and legislative posts.
Active members of political parties should not be allowed to change parties more than once in their entire political career. The process of political funding needs to be made fully transparent and a portion of the taxes collected by the government may be exclusively reserved for political funding and if needed, additional taxes may be imposed for the purpose. The practice of crowdfunding and unaccounted political donations has to be completely given up. The political should be distributed among registered political parties in proportion to their vote share and mandatory auditing of the party funds by independent auditors is also required.
Renewal of active membership must be compulsorily done annually and the EC should be apprised of such renewal which should also be put in the public domain. Active members must be paid subsistence allowance and on their part, the active members too should regularly submit reports on their work with supporting evidence wherever possible.
Parties not holding organisational elections in a transparent manner and at pre-specified regular intervals should mandatorily be deregistered.
Only active members of a party must have voting rights in organisational elections. The practice of nomination to legislative bodies including Rajya Sabha and state legislative Councils needs be discontinued. Retired bureaucrats and Judges should not be allowed to contest elections for at least five years after their superannuation and like ordinary workers, they should actively work for the party to earn a ticket.