The law commission's 255th report

Date: March 14, 2015

20th Law Commission of India electoral reform Justice A P Shah compulsory voting right to recall

 20th Law Commission of India's report on electoral reforms

Law Commission of India in its 255th report on electoral reform has recommended for strong Election Commission.The report was submitted to Ministry of Law and Justice by Law Commission Chairman Justice A P Shah.

Recommendations of 255th Report of Law Commission-

1-No compulsory voting- The law commission has said that it is not in favour of introducing compulsory voting, terming it undemocratic, undesirable and not helping to improve political awareness and participation.

2-No right to recall- The commission has also not favoured the right to recall as well to reject a winning candidate if the vote polled by him were less than those opting for none of the above (NOTA) or state funding of the elections in view of the current economic conditions of the country.

3-Appointments and powers of election commission/election commissioners - Appointments of Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) and all Election Commissioners  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) and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).The elevation of an EC should be on the basis of seniority. If senior EC is not appointed due to unfit reasons, the three member collegium or a committee give reasons in writing.

Equal constitutional protection must be given to all members of the ECI in matters of removability from office.For this  Article 324(5) of the Constitution should be amended.

4-Disqualification of tainted candidates- The commission has recommended increasing the period of disqualification from current three years to five years for a candidate who fails to file election expenses and contributions received, with the intent to debar defaulters from contesting the next elections at least.

5- Paid News- The Commission has recommended that both “paying for the news” by the candidates and “receiving payment for news” by the media organisation should be made an electoral offence by inserting it in the newly inserted section 127B of the electoral act.

6- President/Governor to disqualify members on grounds of defection- The commission has recommended an amendment to the constitution to vesting with the president or the governor the power to disqualify a Member of Parliament or state legislature on the grounds of defection, instead of the speaker or chairman as presently, on the advice of the poll panel.

Law commission:

Law Commission is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. Its major function is to suggest for reforms in laws as per requirement of time. Primarily  legal experts, who are entrusted a mandate by the Government are appointed as its members.The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice.The recommendations of the commission are not binding on the government.

The first Law Commission was established during the British regime in 1834 by the Charter Act of 1833. After that three more Commissions were established in pre-independent India. The first Law Commission of independent India was established in 1955 under chairmanship of Mr. M. C. Setalvad.