The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice in its 61st report on electoral reforms has recommended taking away of certain powers vested with the Election Commission (EC) such as derecognising a political party on the grounds of it spreading unrest and propagating malicious ideologies. Earlier, the union cabinet had moved in a delimiting amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act that had asked for the inclusion of political parties in the ambit of RTI, especially their expenditures and sources of funding. The standing committee also recommended that the Model Code of Conduct be enforced from the date of notification and not from the date of announcement of polls, thus trying to block the Supreme Court’s earlier suggestion that distribution of freebies be disallowed before the elections since they clearly influence the poll outcome, often unfavourably against the party or candidate with less campaign funds at disposal.
The panel charges that the EC is breaching its stipulated powers since the instructions or orders issued by it under Artcle 324 of the Constitution appear at times to be ‘encroaching upon legislative power of Parliament.’
Evidently, shortcircuiting the Election Commission’s attempts to cleanse Indian politics of its entrenched corruption and general malignancy is not an isolated endeavour on the part of the political classes. As the matter now stands, the legislature is fighting a multi-pronged war not only against the advisory bodies that oversee the affiliated functions related to Parliament and the implantation of its legislations, but also against the judiciary and the civil society at large.
Whether it’s the union cabinet or the shadow government in Parliament, which is the opposition, the political cluster is united in defending itself against the attacks and beatings that it is regularly receiving from all quarters. The accusations of overreach are being used to quash the major dissent that it is facing from all fronts.