Lok Satta

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 08:42








Lok Satta Party Delhi unit through their council Advocate Dhananjay Shahi filed a PIL in the High Court bearing number W.P. (C) 382/2013 for electoral reforms and setting right the violations of the MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT resorted to by the large National parties in municipal elections. The PIL came up for hearing on Wednesday before the Chief Justice.


LSP has always been in the forefront of reforms and had filed petitions for electoral reforms since 1999 which include CANDIDATE DISCLOSURES IN 1999, VOTER ROLLS & REGISTRATION, POLITICAL FUNDING REFORM IN 2003 which were accepted by ECI and now form some of the reforms in election.

During the recently concluded MCD elections in 2012 LSP candidates discovered the blatant violation of MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT and notified the authorities viz. RO& Delhi Police for taking action but instead of taking corrective action the activities continued with many times the Returning Officer and the Police Authorities refusing to acknowledge the complaints. Lok Satta Party had earlier submitted a memorandum highlighting the violations but got no positive response from State Election Commissioner due to which Lok Satta Party was compelled to move the Hon’ble High Court for directions to have a free and fair elections to the Municipal Corporation in future.


The major problem areas are:

- Mechanism to check the affadivit of candidates – most of the times they are just received and accepted with no mode of checking available with the Returning Officers mainly for candidates from large National Parties

- During the sealing of EVM’s independent or small party candidates are informed very late as compared to others and are not able to reach the centre – hint of favouritism

- Defacing of public property by candidates from large National parties

- Hoarding & banners in the ward of candidates from large National Parties

- Non-cooperation by the authorities viz. Delhi Police, Returning Officer to maintain vigil and level playing field for all candidates inspite of complaints specifically against candidates of large National Parties

- Sanction of projects by sitting corporators at the last hour to take benefit during elections


Lok Satta Party requested the Honourable High Court to issue directives for the following measures to be implemented for a level playing field for small and regional parties:

1. If any department/person is not carrying out his duties he should be strongly reprimanded or a strong deterrent be put in place so that regulations can be complied with by the various statutory bodies viz. he should be asked to forego 6 months salary and also demoted by one rank.

2. Documents filed alongwith the application for contesting viz. affadivit have not been uploaded on the SEC website – this selective approach is not acceptable. Further the State Election Commission should also verify the affadivit and its correctness.

3. A multi-body committee at each local level be formed to monitor such complaints lodged with the police. Such a committee may have representation from government, one from NGO, private players, legal profession etc. This committee should function till one month after the announcement of results so that it can recommend cancellation of candidature for poll violation if needed.

4. The Committee should have the power to suo-motto take cognizance of poll violation and to follow this up with police complaint. Earlier the Commission used to videograph publicity of candidates, a practice that used to have sobering effect on candidates and their campaign. While this may have been followed in some cases, in most cases this is conspicuous by its absence.

5. The Commission should issue clear instruction on what its various clauses means on publicity material. The Code should clarify what should be the total number of hoardings and the sizes, the banners and their sizes, posters and their sizes, stickers and their sizes etc.

6. The Commission should send clear instructions on use of public address system/ loudspeakers mounted on vehicle etc. It should not be left to discretion of local police. FIR should be lodged if anyone is found to be using more than one loud speakers mounted vehicles. It should also be clarified by the Commission whether drums, an integral part of street theatre, should be allowed or not during the campaign if a political party or an NGO uses this as a part of the awareness campaign.

7. One month prior to such polls, police from different state be asked to take over police station areas for supervising poll processes. The local police develop affinity with local leaders and tend to favour them. The police from outside should implement the code and monitor poll violations. There is also a need for transfer of the SHOs to a different in another corporation so that lodging of FIRs etc would be easy and he would not be able to influence the administration.

8. No representative of any candidate should be allowed to be inside the booth and they should be asked to stay outside 500 metres of the polling booth where facility should be made for people to see voters going inside the booth and their coming out. Once the machine has been seen and found to be correct, the concept of polling agent should be done away with. The movement of voters inside the booth can be watched on the big screen as it happens in a cricket match. Only the casting of votes would be not shown on video. Name and number of each voter can be relayed so that people can identify fake voter if any and challenge.

9. All those taking part in the polls process should be trained in advance about the rules and how to implement them. In absence of this, this was observed that different poll officers were issuing different guidelines to candidates (orally).

10. State Election Commissioner like the Central Election Commissioner should come out with guidelines stopping any development work, sanctioning of new projects etc. atleast 6 months prior to MCD elections which would give a level playing field to all contestants as it has been seen that corporators use or try to exhaust their maximum funds only near to the elections giving them an undue edge over others.


The Hon’ble Chief Justice disposed of the PIL with directions to the State Elelction Commissioner and Delhi Police to take appropriate action against violations and treat all violations as contempt of court. Petitioner was directed to file a suit in lower court and directions were also issued to State Election Commission to comply to set aside the election of Shri Gurcharan Singh(Raju) in view of the violations. Detailed order will be available over the next couple of days.


Armed with this order of High Court Lok Satta Party and the candidate Shri Deepak Gupta will be filing a suit in Karkardooma Court to set aside the election of Shri Gurcharan Singh(Raju) early next week armed with proof of the violations which are blatant and also accepted by the High Court.