General Election Procedure in India, mid term poll and by election
Election Procedure – Introduction:
- Modern democratic states have representative governments but their large size and population make it difficult for them to practice direct democracy as a form of government. Hence, almost all modern democracies have indirect or representative governments, examples- India, great Britain, USA etc. An exception to this is Switzerland.
- Indirect or representative government is that government which is governed by the people’s representative. These representative are chosen by the people through elections. Thus, elections have assumed a very important role in the formation of modern representative governments.
- An election procedure is a contest between different political parties. But all elections are not same in nature and importance. Various elections can be differentiated on the way basis of their nature.
General Election Procedure in India
- General election procedure is that type of election which is held for the purpose of constituting the house of the people (Lok Sabha) or the legislative assembly of a state. This type of election held after the end of specified period of the house. The Lok Sabha has been provided with a fixed term as in the case of the popularity elected house of representatives in United States of America and the house of common in the United Kingdom.
- The reason behind such specific tenure is that the government should obtain the fresh mandate of the people periodically in order to continue in office legitimately. The term of the Lok Sabha in India is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. Performance of the incumbent government is tested in this type of comprehensive elections.
Election Procedure in India – By Election:
- But sometimes election procedure in India being held in condition which is not under normal circumstances. If a representative for a constituency of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative council or Assembly dies while on office or if the office falls vacant because of other reasons, such as resignation or disqualified under the anti-defection act, or the election is declared void, before the expiration of the term of office, a fresh election is held in that particular constituency. Such an election held out of the normal schedule is called By-election.
- Its importance lies in the fact that no constituency left unrepresented for long time.
- Another use of this type of election in our country is it facilitate the election of ministers who are not the member of legislature. Under our constitution, there is no bar to the appointment of a person from outside the legislature as minister, but he/she cannot continue as minister for more than six months unless he/she secures a seat in either house of parliament or the legislative assembly or councils.
Election Procedure in India – Mid-term Poll:
- Again if the Lok Sabha or any of the state assemblies is dissolved before the expiry of its full term and election procedure in India are held to constitute a new house, it is called Mid-term poll. Its importance increased in the face of coalition-era-of Indian democracy.
- Since 1991 we have numerous instances when no parties or groups able to form a viable and stable government and thus forced the dissolution of house and mid-term election. This type of election is also regarded as referendum on the working of incumbent government.
PRESIDENTAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT:
- The three main branches of a government are the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. These functions are assigned to different institutions. The distinction between the parliamentary and the presidential forms of government can be made from the viewpoint of the relationship between the executive and the legislature and the extent to which they are independent of each other. Under the presidential form of government, the executive and the legislature are separate. In fact, the presidential system is characterized by separation of powers.
- Another important feature of the presidential system is the locational the executive power. In this system, single executive authority exists i.e. the head of the state is also the head of government. The president is directly elected, which means the people themselves elect whom they would like to be their president.
- In the presidential system once elected, the president is in office for a specified period. During the tenure of his/her office, he/she cannot ordinarily be removed expect through the extreme step of impeachment.
- In this system, the executive is not responsible to the legislature and does not depend on its support. The president addresses both houses of legislature and may send messages if he so desires. But he cannot dissolve the legislature. The legislature also cannot ask any questions and cannot remove the president through no-confidence motion.
- Another important feature of the presidential system is lack of council of ministers. In fact, the president, selects a group of advisers which forms his cabinet. But members of the cabinet do not hold legislative seats. The members of the cabinet have no accountability to the legislature and are responsible to the president only. The legislative bodies cannot control or remove the members of cabinet.
Should India go in for presidential form?
- The farmers of the constitution adopted a parliamentary system of government on account of both historical and practical grounds. The shortcoming of the working of this system of government have made some people demand its replacement by the presidential system.
- The main arguments in support of the presidential system are- Firstly, the chief executive in the presidential system is relatively free from sectional and party disputes. His term is fixed and thus it ensures stability of the government and the president can devote his time for the development of the country. Secondly, he is free to choose his ministers from the best talent available. Thirdly, it discourages disease of defections. Lastly, separation of power between the executive and the legislature is ensured.
- The arguments against the presidential system are- Firstly, the concentration of power in an individual’s hands increases the chance of the president assuming dictatorial powers, especially in Indian political conditions. Secondly, it is not essential that under presidential system the ministers shall be appointed only on the basis of their merit, ideological considerations are also bound to influence the decision. Lastly, the majority of elections in India are illiterate not be able to know the capacity of the presidential candidate.
- The parliamentary system is the best form of government for a country like India which possesses vast socio-cultural diversities. The presidential system based on separation of executive and legislature, shall lead to frequent deadlocks in the working of the government and prove harmful for the country. As it is, the prime minister who enjoys two-third majority in parliament is more powerful than the president of United States. There is nothing to prevent the prime-minister from choosing the best talent from outside for his cabinet. Defections and other malpractices can be curbed through legislation.
- The parliamentary system has not failed in India. The cabinet system has worked well, ministers represent special groups and interests of the vast country. The parliamentary system leads to the development of ministers from the legislatures. The failure of a system, howsoever good, depends upon the quality and ability of the people who work it. No system can be substitute for that essential of democracy, high public character.
Pressure Groups In Politics:
- Pressure groups are voluntary associations formed to promote and defend a particular interest, or to promote a course of political position in the political system. They are called pressure groups as they attempt to bring political or policy change by putting pressure, using various techniques, on the government. In that sense they differ from political parties as they do not themselves directly seek elective office nor put forward a programme covering whole range of government activities.
- Each group, accordingly works for collective interests of its members. The number of groups and intensity with which they are able to pursue their objectives depends upon the social legitimation of group activity and the prospects of fulfilling group demands in a given political system.
- In India today there are two types of pressure or interest groups:
- Institutional interest groups which function within such organization which have evolved from specific occupational interests.
- Non- associational or anomie interest groups. Within the first type of groups there are those that spring from the occupational lines or modern sectors of society such as business groups, trade associations and unions, employer’s associations, peasant organizations etc. the other are those who are based on traditional social structures associated with religion, caste, tribe or language.
- Besides these well-organized groups that operate on the authorities on more or less a regular basis on a variety of issues, there are other groups organized on specific issues that strive to achieve a single objentive and remain organized only till that objective is achieved.
- There are various organized groups that make use of “pressure system” for getting their claims accepted by the decision-makers. Though they have been slow to develop, these groups in India are a form of linkage and means of communication between the masses and the elite. They provide scope for expanding participation and their institutionalization is a critical element in the development of a responsive political system, for they are barometers of the political climate by which decision makers can and assess policy.
- While the interest groups make demands upon society for the benefit of its members, it also increase the political consciousness and participation of their membership and democratic achievements. Although they may strain the responsive capacity of the system interest groups may be reservoirs of political leadership.
- Most importantly interest groups are a vehicle for social integration. Bringing individuals for the expression of common interests, they may bridge the gap not only between the mass and the elite but between the various traditional divisions within the society as a whole. Interest groups may thus serve as agents of both vertical and horizontal integration. Even interest groups that have reinforced existing cleavages in Indian society, such as caste association have frequently differentiated interests and cross cutting ties.
- As a whole pressure groups occupy a significant position system. They play an important role in the functional performance of various political structures. With economic liberalization and globalization the role of pressure groups has further increased. Recent experience clearly shows the influence, particularly the big business and big farmers have been exerting both on government and political parties.
Right To Property – Election Procedure in India
- Originally the constitution had incorporated the right to property as a fundamental right under articles 19(f) and 31.
- The 44th constitution amendment act, 1978 omitted articles 19(f) and 31 with effect from 20th June, 1979. By the same amendment act, the provision in Article 31(1) has been transposed to a new article- Article 300 A, which is outside part III of the constitution and has been labelled as chapter IV of part XII, which deals with finance. Property , contracts and suits.
- Thus, the right to property ceases to be a fundamental right but still remains a legal right.
- The net result of the various amendments inflicted upon the right to property are – the right not to be deprived of one’s property save by authority of law is no longer a fundamental right. Hence if anybody’s property is taken away by executive fiat without the authority of law or in contravention of a law, the aggrieved individual shall have no right to more the supreme court under article 32.
- If a legislature makes a law depriving a person of his property, he/she cannot challenge the reasonableness of the restrictions imposed by such law, invoking Article 19(1)(f), because that provision has ceased to exist.
- Since clause (2) of article 31 has vanished the individual’s right to property is no longer a guarantee against the legislature in respect of any compensation for loss of such property. In the original constitution , article 31(2) embodied the principle that if the state makes a compulsory acquisition or requisitioning of private property. It must (a) makes a law, (b) such law must be for a public purpose. (c) some compensation must be paid to the expropriated owner.
- The 25th amendment act, 1971 had replaced the requirement of compensation by an amount, the adequacy of which could no longer be challenged before the courts. Nonetheless the supreme court held that the aggrieved person might complain if the amount so offered was illusory or amounted to confiscation. But such a possibility has now been foreclosed by the 44th
- A constitutional safeguard has been provided in article 300 A which say that no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law. Authority of law could be exercised for the general good of the people and to promote publics interest and not for arbitrary and punitive action against any citizen, unless some public interest is involved and the parliament is convinced of the public interest, a citizen’s right to property is fully protected.
- This protection is not only against state action but against fellow citizens as well. In case of the violation of the right under Article 300 A the supreme courts writ jurisdiction under Article 32 cannot be invoked, but high court can certainly be approached under article 226. In Bishamber vs. state of UP the supreme court adjudged that validity of a law passed under Article 300 A can be challenged for depriving a citizen of his property.
- Almost all constitutional experts has criticized the omission of right to property from fundamental rights.
- Even the constitution of the communist countries like china and erstwhile USSR has been provided for individual’s right to property.