India is the second-highest populated country with the largest democratic foundation in the world. Elections in India are a very big topic and an integral part of the democratic system. The voting rights of the Indians regarding electoral law have been reformed quite a few times since the advent of the Constitution of India. In this article, we will study the reforms and Election process in India.
An Introduction to the Electoral Reforms in India
The rules, regulations, and directives of the Election process in India have been changed quite a few times in order to maintain the dignity of the voting right and to eliminate corruption from all possible levels. The first three elections were conducted on a fairground but the standards started to degrade in the fourth one held in 1967. Many natives considered that it is the result of political corruption that resulted in such maladministration. This is why electoral reforms in India were introduced to face such challenges and to make it a fair practice for all.
Major Issues in Indian Electoral Politics
One of the prime issues that the Election procedure in India faces even to this date is money and power. Candidates spend fortunes for publicity and campaigns the agenda of their respective parties. It requires immense resources including money to make people understand the power of the parties and to compel them to vote. Most of the time, the parties exceed the permissible extent of expenses to display their strongholds.
2. Muscle Power
Untoward as well as illegal incidents are often heard in different places due to political bias and differences in opinions. Capturing booths, intimidating locals, and violence became a routine in certain parts of the country.
3. Criminalization and Politicization
Another devastating issue of the election process conducted in India is the criminalization of politics using muscle and money. In fact, politicians with strong criminal backgrounds are also witnessed getting tickets from respective parties to compete in an election.
4. Misusing Government Machinery
Using government machinery such as vehicles, tools, and even law professionals have been witnessed in elections.
5. Degradation of Moral Values
Deterioration of the moral values of the politicians and candidates also maligns the true nature of this democratic right.
6. Other Issues
Besides these mentioned issues in the electoral politics of the country, there are other issues as well such as presence of casteism as well as communalism and attracting votes with respect to caste and religion.
Electoral Reforms in India
Due to the above-mentioned issues maligning the election process, the process of electoral reform was introduced to design laws more stringent. Different committees formed in due course of time to eradicate such issues and to conduct elections the way it is intended and mentioned in the Constitution of India. let us check the reforms and amendments done in the electoral rights.
1. Reducing Voting Age
The 61st Amendment Act resulted in reducing the voting age from 21 years to 18 years for the Indians.
2. Election Commission Deputation
Every election personnel will be superintended by the Election Commission of India throughout the cycle.
3. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
The introduction of EVMs in 1998 in the state elections of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Delhi earmarked a better and more efficient election process. This is one of the most important Election reforms in India before 2000.
4. Restricting Constituencies for Contest
The Election process in India was transformed drastically when the candidates were not allowed to contest from more than 2 constituencies in India.
5. Election Expenditure Limitation
The Electoral Reform Committee has capped the expenditure a party can spend as an individual candidate. The amount is said to be set up to INR 50-70 Lakh for Lok Sabha elections whereas INR 20-28 Lakh for assembly elections.
6. Broadcasting Election Results
In 2019, this electoral reform from EC stopped broadcasting the results before the final phase in order to avoid misleading voters in any way possible.
7. Postal Ballot Reform
In 2013, an electoral reform expanded the ambit of this way of casting voting by including 6 categories. This method can be used by service voters, wives of service voters, special voters, wives of special voters, voters in preventive detention, personnel on election duty, and notified voters.
8. National Voters’ Day
In this reform, the EC announced that 25th January will be celebrated as National Voters’ Day across the country to spread the awareness and significance of elections. It is done to encourage the Indians to actively participate in the elections and to express their thoughts.
9. Disqualification and Increase in Number of Proposers
The candidate as per the electoral reforms can be disqualified in case of violation of National Honours Act, 1971. On the other hand, the security deposit to contest the election as well as a 10% increase in the Proposers on the nomination papers has also been done.
There is said to be prohibition to enter near the polling booth with arms.
Bye Elections should be done within the 6 months of the vacancy occurring.
There is prohibition of sale and distribution of liquor within polling areas.
There are different other major and minor political reforms in India amended by the EC to ensure the dignity and directives of an election conducted. Over the years, these significant changes brought noteworthy transformations in the election process. It also reflects on the responsibility of the authoritative body that looks after the election, its directives, the functions of election professionals, and controlling the parties contesting in the elections in different aspects.
Remember that every reform was given a proper shape based on the recommendations of a committee set on a particular ground. The information regarding the reforms can be found in the Electoral reforms in India PDF file. It will help you in studying and remembering the dates, motives, and changes made in the election protocols in India.