Recently, the Law Minister has defended the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), describing it as an instrument designed to empower the ordinary Indian. There are two interesting discussions regarding the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) controversy in India. First, since its inception, every major political party has questioned the authenticity and efficacy of the machine. Secondly, the instrument often works as the bone of contention between the winning and the losing party, with the winning party always defending the indispensability of the machine to the democratic process and the losing alleging that the EVMs were tampered with.
With the latest happenings in India and all over the world, and the fundamentals of democracy coming into question regularly, the concept of democracy has become an important subject for discussion now. Democracy in India is a subject of debate for a long time and the concept of the new democracy has emerged as a matter of discussion quite fairly. Here, we will discuss the various aspects of democracy and how democracy plays its role in India, the concept of the new democracy, and its importance.
Democracy thrives only if elected representatives come under the scrutiny of the electors. India has come a long way since its independence in 1947 to become one among the world’s largest democracies. Yet, there persist several lacunae that prevent Indian democracy from realizing the full potential. The consequence of this is the prevalence of draconian laws, undemocratic policies etc. To address these issues, people must be empowered by enabling them to exercise their rights to question and reject politicians indulging in questionable activities. In this regard, the experts recommend electoral reforms that ensure the right to recall and right to reject to the people of India.
Elections are the life and blood of modern democracies. The health and vitality of parliamentary democracy are sustained by ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections where the verdict of the people finds full expression. Free and fair elections are important in ensuring the government authority derives power from the will of the people. It is expected that electoral reforms will contribute to better participation of the citizens in electoral practices, reduce corruption and strengthen democracy in India. As a foundation for the electoral reforms, recently, the Prime Minister’s Office had held a meeting with representatives of the Election Commission and the Law Ministry to discuss the possibility of having a common electoral roll for elections to the Panchayat, municipality, state assembly and the Lok Sabha.
Electing a government to govern the nation/states for the next five years by casting vote in a polling booth is an onerous responsibility on the shoulders of every voter in a democratic country. Unfortunately, even after seven decades of independence and numerous elections held in the country so far, despite extensive appeals by the Election Commission, government and other celebrities, large number of voters still perceive, voting is an optional luxury enjoying low priority. According to the 255th Law Commission Report, “Electoral right” of the voter includes the right to “vote or refrain from voting at an election.” The Representation of People Act, 1951 – the law that governs elections also talks of “right to vote rather than a duty to vote”. Last year, in the monsoon session of parliament, Lok Sabha members expressed diverse views on a private member’s bill seeking compulsory voting.
Some experts estimate the coronavirus pandemic to last for two years. Deferring elections for such a long duration could go against the spirit of democracy and federalism – the basic components of the Indian Constitution. Thus, the Election Commission of India (ECI) made India one among the few countries to hold elections amid the pandemic. Since June, it had successfully held Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections in various states under strict COVID-related guidelines. Bihar will be the ultimate test for the EC’s ability to safeguard democracy and public health, as it is the first state to be holding Assembly elections amid pandemic in October-November. The Supreme Court backs the EC’s stand on election process by rejected the plea for the cancellation of Bihar polls, stating that COVID-19 cannot be a “valid reason” for stopping elections.
In April, the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to reduce the tenure of the State Election Commissioner was criticised as a …
The Centre has constituted a Delimitation Commission to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Nagaland. The exercise of delimitation across the nation was periodically done to ensure equal representation of states based on population census. This, however, temporarily ceased due to numerous issues like an overemphasis on population numbers. This short-term freeze of delimitation would be lifted in 2026. Therefore, addressing these issues is vital so that the nationwide delimitation process is not postponed yet again, threatening India’s democratic principles.