Legislative Foundation of Indian Representative Democracy

Representative democracy is the latest form of system of governance. Being the latest form of system of governance, it includes three parts, They are; [i] theoretical or conceptual part [ii] legislative part and [iii] behavioral part. Theoretical part of the concept of representative democracy provides democratic rights to every adult citizen of every constituency / electoral college of the country, i. e. “absolute and unconditional equal opportunity-liberty-right to stand as a contesting candidate and to cast his/her vote in favour of the participating voter including himself/herself of the constituency/electoral college nominated by himself / herself only. Right to vote legitimizes the power of every voter of every constituency / electoral college of the country [i] to examine-evaluate-compare the integrity-transparency [consistency among thoughts-expressions-actions] –accountability of the character and behavior of every participating voter including himself / herself of the constituency / electoral college, [ii] to make the choice of the most suitable participating voter of the constituency / electoral college and [iii] to express his/her own choice through ballot paper or through any other media.

In a nutshell, right to stand as a contesting candidate and right to vote in favour of the voter nominated by himself / herself only at an election are the two inseparable sides of the one and the same coin of democratic rights or political equality. In the absence of any one side, the coin of democratic rights or political equality is bound to be incomplete. The legislative part of the concept of representative democracy must ensure absolute and unconditional equal opportunity-liberty-right to every voter of the country to stand as a contesting candidate and to cast his/her vote in favour of the voter of the constituency / electoral college nominated by him/her only. Any gap between theoretical part and legislative part of the concept of representative democracy makes the theoretical part impractical, ineffective and meaningless.

Multi-tier institutional structure of governance and procedure for election constitute the legislative part of the concept of representative democracy. Multi-tier institutional structure of governance can be either centralized top-to-bottom or decentralized bottom-to-top. In order to implement the concept of representative democracy in independent India, the Constituent Assembly of the country adopted five-tier centralized top-to-bottom institutional structure of governance. In five-tier centralized top-to-bottom institutional structure of governance, Lok-Sabha is at the top and State Assemblies are the next to Lok-Sabha. The average size of the constituency of Lok-Sabha is around ten lakh and of every State Assembly is around one and half lakh voters. Absolute and unconditional equal opportunity-liberty-right to stand as a contesting candidate to every voter of every constituency of Lok-Sabha and of every State Assembly would yield around ten lakh and one and half lakh contesting candidates respectively.

After approving fiver-tier centralized top-to-bottom institutional structure of governance, the Constituent Assembly through its own resolution converted itself as the first Parliament of the country. While working as the first Parliament, the Constituent Assembly enacted The Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951. In order to get the constitutors and operators of Lok-Sabha and of all the State Assemblies elected in future, it was/is necessary to dilute the essence and spirit of the democratic rights of the voter, i.e. absolute and unconditional equal opportunity-liberty-right to stand as a contesting candidate and to cast his/her vote in favour of the participating voter including himself/herself of the constituency / electoral college nominated by him/her only. The legislative definitions of the concepts related to democratic rights of the voter have achieved this goal successfully.

electronic Voting Machines being opened

The concept of political equality is the part and parcel of the PREAMBLE of Indian Constitution. Legislatively, the concept of political equality has been defined in terms of ‘value of vote, i. e. one person one vote and one vote one value’. Value of vote based legislative definition of the concept of political equality does not approve the absolute and unconditional equal opportunity-liberty-right to every voter of the country to stand as a contesting candidate at the election. For attaining the political status of contesting candidate at an election, the interested voter has to submit the valid nomination form in the local office of the Election Commission of the country. This has made the democratic right of the voter of the country to stand as a contesting candidate at the election, conditional and commercial.

In order to ensure the availability of contesting candidates in each and every constituency of Lok-Sabha and of every State Assembly at the election, Section 29A of The Representation of the People Act, 1951 introduced the Political Institution, namely, Political Party. Every Political Party enjoys the legislative power to justify-certify the integrity-transparency- accountability of the character and behavior of its nominee. As a result, every participating voter does not have any option other than to endorse the choice of one or the other Political Party or of any independent contesting candidate. The observation of FRANK McKINNEY HUBBARD, an American Humorist; “We’d all like to vote for the best man, but he’s never a candidate” [The Times of India, March 8, 2011, Page 20] confirms the above outcome. The following lines describe the legislative definitions of the concepts of ‘voter’ ‘right to vote’ ‘election’ and ‘process of election’.

Voter

As per article 326 of the Constitution of India; “The election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage; ‘that is to say; every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than eighteen years of age on such date as may be fixed in that behalf by or under any law made by the appropriate legislature and is not otherwise disqualified under this Constitution or any law made by the appropriate legislature on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice, shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at any such election.

As per sub-section 2[e] of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, “elector” in relation to a constituency means a person whose name is entered in the electoral roll of that constituency for the time being in force and who is not subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in Section 16 of The Representation of the People Act, 1950 [43 of 1950];

Right to Vote

As per Section 62 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, ‘right to vote’ means :

1) No person who is not, and except as expressly provided by this Act, every person who is, for the time being entered in the electoral roll of any constituency shall be entitled to vote in that constituency.

2) No person shall vote at an election in any constituency if he is subject to any of the disqualifications referred to in Section 16 of The Representation of the People Act, 1950 [43 of 1950]

3) No person shall vote at a general election in more than one constituency of the same class and if a person votes in more than one such constituency, his votes in all such constituencies, shall be void.

4) No person shall at any election vote in the same constituency more than once, not withstanding that his name may have been registered in the electoral roll for the constituency more than once, and if he does so vote, all his votes in that constituency shall be void.

5) No person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police. Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to a person subject to preventive detention under any law for the time being in force.

6) Nothing contained in sub-sections [3] and [4] shall apply to a person who has been authorized to vote as proxy for an elector under this Act in so far as he votes as a proxy for such elector.”

As per sub-section 79 [d] of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, “electoral right means the right of a person to stand or not to stand as, or [to withdraw or not to withdraw] from being a candidate, or to vote or refrain from voting at an election”

Election
As per sub-section 2[d] of The Representation of the People Act 1951. “election means election to fill a seat or seats in either House of Parliament or in the House or either House of the Legislature of a State other than the State of Jammu and Kashmir”

Process of Election

All the above mentioned legislative definitions are directly related to the process of election. Process of election is the functional component of the procedure for election. Like other processes, process of election also includes three elements. They are [i] inputs; contesting candidates nominated by the Political Parties at the election plus self nominated contesting candidates; [ii] processing ; in the name of right to vote every participating voter of the constituency / electoral college has to endorse the choice of one or the other Political Party or of any independent contesting candidate and [iii] obvious outcome; returned candidate is elected as per the rule of election based on the-first past-the post system.

There is a very popular proverb “garbage in, garbage out”. According to this proverb, the integrity-transparency-accountability of the character and behavior of the constitutors and operators of the adopted five-tier centralized top-to-bottom multi-party based institutional structure of governance solely depend on the over all integrity- transparency-accountability of the nominees of Political Parties and self.

Lastly, implementation of democratic rights of the voter in their letter and spirit by the legislative part constitutes the behavioral part of the concept of representative democracy. In Indian representative democracy five – tier centralized top-to-bottom multi-party based institutional structure of governance determines the behavior of it’s constitutors and operators. The constitutors and operators of the adopted five-tier centralized top-to-bottom multi-party based institutional structure governance are very much interested in the existence-survival-growth of their nominators rather than their electors. Perhaps for this reason Bapujee was very much in favour of decentralised bottom-to-top institutional structure of governance. Similarly, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan advocated party less democracy and the concept of lok-ummidwar. This will prevent the corruption and black money. Prevention of evil is better than it’s cure.

Click For “About the Author





Speak Your Mind

*