Elections- Let’s Go Back to Basics
“Elections”, a word whose meaning we are well versed with yet every election in India spreads a ray of confusion and instability. There are all lot of questions both logically and ethically arise at this uncertain time. If this seems to be the case from always it will not be wrong to say that uncertainty is nature of election. The main focus to write this article is to help you decide whom to vote, how to vote, what aspects should be considered and what topic are not be considered while voting.
Election commission of India 1950 conducts election in India. Present Chief Election Commissioner of India is Mr. Sunil Arora. This is a constitutional autonomous body which is solely responsible for free and fair elections in India. Right from registering candidates to announcing the results it is the duty of election commission to be in charge of the process.
Facts about electoral system
The Election Commission of India is responsible conducting elections for Lok Sabha-The Lower House, Rajya Sabha-The Council of States, State Legislative Assemblies of India and offices of President and Vice President of India. The country was divided into 543 Parliamentary Constituencies, each of which elects one Member of Parliament. Twenty-nine States and two of the seven Union Territories have their own assemblies – Vidhan Sabhas. The thirty-one Assemblies have 4120 Constituencies.
Any citizen who is not prohibited by law otherwise, and is over 25 years, in case of Lok Sabha, and over 30 years, in case of Rajya Sabha, can contest in the elections. If a candidate wishes to stand in Vidhan Sabha election he should be residing in the same state. Every candidate has to make a deposit of Rs.25,000(Lok Sabha) and Rs. 10,000 (Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Sabha)
Laws affecting election process.
Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952
This Act was passed to settle certain matters related to election of offices of President and Vice President. It provides definition of related terms and set the boundaries under which the entire process of election would take place. From Returning Officer and his assistants to Jurisdiction of civil courts is covered in this Act.
Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974
These are supplementary set of rules in accordance with the above-mentioned Act. It provides rules for Nomination of Candidates, The Pole, Counting of Votes and Declaration of Result and Miscellaneous. It also provides with the forms required to be fill in during election process such as Public Notice, Nomination Paper, Notice of Withdrawal and so on.
Representation by People Act, 1950
The act provides the laws for distribution of seats, and delimitation of constituencies for the purpose of elections, qualification of voters the manner of filling seats in the Council of States to be filled by representatives of Union territories, and matters connected therewith. Representation by People Rules, 1951 were introduced to give the control measure for above mentioned issues.
Conduct of Election Rules,1961
Deals with issues such as maximum amount of expenditure on elections. It also lays down general provisions for the process of elections.
Leadership is not about next elections, it’s about next generation. If the elections can be seen as stepping stones for a better governmental control for next generation then it increases the responsibility of that generation too. We as citizens have some duty towards the election process definitely more than just being present to vote.
Important factors that we tend to forget while talking about election.
If you don’t vote you lose the right to complaint but when you vote remember to vote like humans with brains and not robots with batteries. There are various factors which are ignored while deciding whom to vote and whom not to vote.
Education qualification of candidates.
This issue has been in debate from decades that there should be some educational qualification criteria for candidates who register themselves in elections. Then why are we not in any place of conclusion till now? That is because of a very strong argument that why rather how would a degree or certificate qualify someone to become a leader. So why don’t we talk about the issue in this article.
We would like to explain the real concern to you with an example but before that **Disclaimer**This is a hypothetical example which has nothing to do with any person or organisation in real life. For say there is health ministry and the person who is appointed as health minister need not be a doctor or have a MBBS degree or have opted PCB in his high school but should at least know how does a system of hospitals work, what are recent changes which would have adverse effect on health of the people, what measures are necessary, reasons of past mistakes and how to keep himself and everybody aware.
Basically, when we talk about candidate’s education qualification we are surely not talking about his degree or achievements rather we are talking about his conscience, practicality, leadership and ability to sustain a dynamic environment. A piece of paper cannot define someone’s future and should never do but basic understanding and education is necessary for a person to lead at any level. An educated man knows the importance of education.
Criminal background of candidates
There is no prohibition on candidates who have a criminal record or case going on to contest in elections but some laws are to be followed by the political parties if such a candidate represents them.
At first the political party has to give a valid reason of why the person has been chosen as a candidate. This reason cannot be because of popularity and ease of getting vote. The Election Commission need a way more important reason in this case. The political party is also obliged to give the concerned information about the candidate on their website and publish it in one national newspaper and one local newspaper three times in election campaign. The second publicity is to be done within fifth and eighth day of the last date of withdrawal. The third publicity is to done from ninth day till last day of campaign.
Only because someone has a criminal background or a case in present can’t be deprived of contesting in the elections. But to look into the matter and ensure the that things come clean at the ground level is our duty as voters.
Area wise representation
Voters tend to focus on the face of the political party while deciding their votes. But what they must consider is the candidate who would represent them at level 1. We need to focus on the candidates who are going to represent our needs and problems directly. It is true that the main leader of the party matters but what good it will do if a great leader is not even informed about ground level problems.
If voters decide to focus on this precise detail no wonder the parties will also have to make sure they appoint the best and give opportunity to deserving people
Manifestos are opportunity for voters to judge the political parties and not another chance for them to fool us. While deciding whom to vote reading manifestos with an open mind is indispensable. Don’t let politicians use drives to divide you on any basis. Vote as country and not as an individual. Manifesto are the first place where you can see the intentions of a party.
Sadly voters use this word more than the parties. The political stress should lie with them. A pressure helps them to stay focus and take actions. One sided election does no good to anybody. A person contesting in election should have the fear of losing.
Elections holds much importance in the country’s future. It is time when the leaders are to be reminded that we are the ones who made them what they are today. Being such a large democracy, we have the unsaid liability to maintain its essence. While democracy have its control, its vital breach is individual liberty. We have to believe in the power which we hold and is guaranteed by our constitution.
Voting is a very important decision and whom to vote is again a crucial decision. Maintaining the free and fair elections may the job of Election Commission but making it a successful one is definitely ours. Remember not voting is not a protest it is a surrender.
(Writer, The Legal State)
 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act,1952
 Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules,1974
 Representation by People Act, 1950
 Representation by People Rules, 1951
 Conduct of Election Rules,1961