Law Commission to consult parties to firm up its election reforms

As the country heads for Lok Sabha elections, the Law Commission will on Saturday hold consultations on electoral reforms to firm up its views on complex issues including ban on opinion polls and fate of candidates who file false affidavits.

The national level consultations with political parties and other stakeholders are being seen as an effort of the Commission to finalise its recommendations on electoral reforms, months after it circulated a consultation paper on the issue.

In its May 2013 consultation paper, the Commission, which gives legal advice to the government on complex legal issues, wanted to know whether a people’s representative should stand disqualified upon conviction in a case, or framing of charges in a court, or as soon as the investigation officer presents his report.

‘The issue of electoral reforms with all its connotations has been receiving attention of the successive governments....

A divergence of views further underlines the need to engage in identifying the direct and indirect connection between these issues and the constitutional obligations of strengthening democracy and the rule of law,’ the law panel had said.

It will also make recommendations on whether to altogether ban publication and broadcast of opinion polls between announcement of election schedule and final phase of polling.
Existing law allows EC to ban them just 48 hours prior to voting.

The Election Commission, the Attorney General, major political parties, except BJP, have supported the move to ban opinion polls. The Law Commission had also asked whether, in addition to the existing scheme of disqualification, a new statutory provision needs to be inserted for evaluation of fitness of a candidate by an independent body.
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