Saturday, March 21

Detecting tainted candidates by red dot

The current law as it stands, requires the Electoral Candidates to file affidavits clearly giving details on pending litigation and court orders/jail sentences. Such information is required to be in public domain as per the Supreme Court order. It is the unfortunate reality in India that such public domain information is not reaching out to all the voting citizens equally; either they cannot read and understand or cannot access the information. In any case, the voter cannot easily make an 'informed choice'.

Similar situation existed with packaged food products. The Labelling rules now require among other things, that contents and constituents be clearly stated so that, for example, the citizen can determine if the product is of vegetarian or non-vegetarian origin. To simplify this for the citizen, it is required to put a green dot for vegetarian and brown dot for non-vegetarian constituents of content. Now it is very easy for the buyer and citizen to distinguish between products.

I suggest that similar 'dot system' be used for Electoral Candidates. The tainted candidates, who have pending litigation or jail terms, etc, should be identified by a 'red dot' against their names on the Electronic Voting Machine. This will simplify the difficult issue of reaching important information to the citizens in an equitable manner.

It can be no ones' case that this mandated information should not be easily understood by the voting citizens. Then why do we need so many NGOs, Citizen Groups and the Media, to try to reach it to the voters? The State Chief Electoral Officers should require the EVMs to have the 'red dot' against the names of the tainted candidates.

The Election Commission of India should mandate this simple process.

The publicity of explanation of the 'red dot' alone, will act as a serious deterrent to the political parties from nominating tainted candidates from any constituency in India. This process is in consonance with the Supreme Court ruling, in that it is a different method to put such information in public domain. The ECI can act on this method and satisfy the spirit of the SC order.
Praful VoraVolunteer & Convener, JNM

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