On 12-03-2015, the Law Commission of India submitted a report to the Ministry of Law & Justice suggesting comprehensive measures for changes in the law to address the issue of “Electoral Reform”. The Report proposes various amendments:

Election Finance:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Amendment in Section 77 (1); to ensure regulation of election expenses incurred by candidates or their election agents from the ‘date of notification of the elections’ to the date of declaration of results instead of the ‘date of nomination of the candidate’.
  • Insertion of a new Section 77A to require candidates or their election agents to maintain an account and disclose the particulars (names, addresses and PAN card numbers of donors and amounts contributed) of any individual contribution received from any person and company, not being a Government Company; or any contribution made by a political party.
  • Insertion of a new Section 78A to require the district election officer to make publicly available, on his website or on file for public inspection on payment of prescribed fee, the expenditure reports submitted by every contesting candidate under Section 78.
  • Replacement of Section 29C by a new Section 29D to require all parties to:

Þ    mandatorily disclose all contributions in excess of Rs. 20000;

Þ    include aggregate contributions from a single donor amounting to Rs. 20000  within its scope;

Þ    disclose the names, address  and PAN card numbers of these donors along with the amount of each donation above Rs. 20000;

Þ    disclose such particulars even for contributions less than Rs. 20000, if such contribution exceeds 20% of the party’s total contribution.

  • Insertion of a new Section 29E requiring ECI to make publicly available, on its website or on file for public inspection on payment of prescribed fee, all the contribution report submitted by political parties under Section 29 D.
  • Insertion of new Section 29F to mandate the expenses incurred by political parties to be in the form of cheque or draft, unless banking facilities are not easily available or the payment is made to a party functionary in lieu of salary or reimbursement.
  • To extend the disqualification of a candidate for a failure to lodge an account of election expenses from current period of three years to five years, so that a defaulting candidate may be ineligible to contest atleast the next election.
  • Imposition of a daily fine of Rs 25000 on political party under Section 29G for each day of non-compliance with the disclosure provisions, with a possibility of de-registration if the default continues beyond 90 days. And, a levy of fine upto Rs. 50 lakhs for filing false particulars in party’s statement.
  • Insertion of a new Section 29H to penalize parties for accepting contributions from impermissible donors, by levying a penalty of five times the amount so accepted.

Amendment in Companies Act, 2013 –

  • Amendment in Section 182 (1); to require the passing of the resolution authorising the contribution from the company’s fund to a political party at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) instead of its Board of Directors.


Regulation of Political Parties and Inner Party Democracy:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Amendment in Section 29A (5) to include the provision stating that the party should shun violence for political gains, and would avoid discrimination and distinction based on race, caste, creed language or place of residence.
  • Insertion of a new Chapter IV C with a heading “Regulation of Political Parties”, with Sections 29J to 29Q to deal with internal democracy, party Constitutions, internal elections, candidate selection, voting procedures, and the ECI’s power to de-register a party in cases of non-compliance.
  • Insertion of Section 29R for de-registration of a political party for failure to contest Parliamentary or State elections for ten consecutive years.

Anti-Defection Law:

Amendment in the Constitution of India

  • Amendment in the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution in order to vest the power to decide on questions of disqualification on the ground of defection with the President or the Governor (instead of the Speaker or the Chairman) to preserve the integrity of the Speaker’s office.

Strengthening the office of ECI:

Amendment in the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991-

  • The appointment of all the Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium or selection committee, consisting of the Prime Minister; the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha in terms of numerical strength); and the Chief Justice of India. 
  • Elevation of an Election Commissioner should be on the basis of seniority, unless the three member collegium/committee, for reasons to be recorded in writing, finds such Commissioner unfit.

Amendment in the Constitution of India

  • Amendment in Article 324(5) to provide equal constitutional protection to all the members of ECI in matters of removability from office.
  • Insertion of a new Article 324 (2A) to provide for a separate independent and permanent Secretariat for the ECI in order to improve the independence of the ECI.


Paid News and Political Advertisements:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Insertion of the definitions of “paying for news”, “receiving payment for news” and “political advertisement” in Section 2.
  • Insertion of Section 127 B to make “paying for news” / “receiving payment for news” an Electoral Offence and provide stringent punishment thereto.

Opinion Polls:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Amend Section 126 (1)(b) to prevent the publication, publicity, or dissemination of any election matter by print or electronic media forty-eight hours before polling.
  • Insertion of Section 126 C and 126 D to regulate opinion polls.

Election Petitions:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Amendment in Part VI which deal with “disputes regarding elections” as follows:

Þ    introduction of one or more “election benches” in each High Court, to exercise jurisdiction over all election disputes under the RPA.

Þ    procedure for presenting election petitions to be made simpler and less formalistic.

Þ    trial of election petitions by the election bench of the High Court to be expedited and concluded within six months from the date of presentation of the petition; otherwise, a report should be sent to the Chief Justice of the High Court explaining the reasons for the delay.

Þ    election bench of the High Court to pass its order within ninety days from the conclusion of arguments.

Þ    appeals to the Supreme Court to be on the basis of a question of law, instead of the earlier provision permitting questions of fact or law as grounds for appeal.

NOTA and the Right to Reject:

  • The Law Commission rejects the extension of the NOTA principle to introduce a right to reject the candidate and invalidate the election in cases where a majority of the votes have been polled in favour of the NOTA option.


Restriction on Government Sponsored Advertisements:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Insertion of a new Chapter VII B in Part V to prohibit the State/Central government sponsored advertisements in the print or electronic media or by way of banners and hoarders, six months prior to date of expiry of the term of the Lok Sabha/Vidhan Sabha to maintain the purity of elections.

Restriction on the Number of Seats from which a candidate may contest

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Amendment in Section 33 (7) to permit candidates to stand from only one constituency in any election (parliamentary, assembly, biennial council, or bye-elections).

Independent Candidates:

Amendment in Representation of People Act, 1951 –

  • Amendment in Section 4 and 5 to provide for only political parties registered with the ECI under section 11(4) to contest Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha elections.

-Ministry of Law & Justice

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