CEC on electoral reforms

In an exclusive interview to the PTI given on the eve of demitting office, S.Y. Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India spoke of the need of various electoral reforms to perfect democratic process in the country. In reply to many important questions, he said that the matter of newspapers publishing paid news at the time of elections should be declared cognizable offence and punished under law. The fact is that large sections of credible national and regional media had been raising the question of paid news during the election campaigns of political parties and demanding that as this practice violated the ethics of journalism should be stopped under orders of the Government. If this and other recommendations made by the retiring CEC are incorporated in the Code of Conduct, it would help curb a bad tendency in the media. True, many other recommendations made by CEC have not been deliberated upon by the Government or the Parliament so far; nevertheless the process will begin sooner or later because our determination of running the Government along democratic lines has to keep pace with the new situations and new reactions. That is a sign of a healthy democracy. For example, he has suggested that there should be a panel of Election Commissioners and the senior most among them should be made the CEC. At present the practice is of nominating him. We hope that a good and serious debate will be held on the electoral reforms in good time and discrepancies in the system will be removed.


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