Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.

National Security

Supreme Court Verdict on Corrupt Electoral Practices - Irrelevance to Reality

Dt:  20/1/17

 

Supreme Court Verdict on Corrupt Electoral  Practices  - Irrelevance to  Reality

Dr T.H.Chowdary*

 

The Supreme Court has recently ruled that if voters are canvassed by the candidates or by their agents or with the  consent of either by others, through  appeals to religion, caste and language it would be  a corrupt practice and therefore it attracts the  punishments under the Representation of  People  Act of 1951.

2. It is astounding that when  the candidates for election are  put up by parties on the  basis of religion  and caste  and  calculations are made as to what  percentage of the voters, of different religions, castes, sub-castes  etc., the whole process is from the  beginning  religion and caste –based .   Political parties  seem to be having  detailed information as to  which religious community and what castes and how many members  of them have voted for which party in the previous elections.  It is baffling as to how they get this information when balloting is secret.  So, it is obvious that the entire election process from the  parties choosing the candidates, to  the electioneering is based upon considerations of religion and caste.  How does the Election Commission or the secular state expect that religion and   caste should not be factors in voting ?

3. It is not necessary that the voters are harangued and inspired and led to vote for particular  candidates by candidates or their agents themselves.  Non-party organisations not having any consent from the   candidate or his agent or his party, can ask people to vote for those  who will support reservation for  Muslims or who will support the  construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya or who will defeat the   anti-secular, communal, casteist or family owned  parties etc.  Social organisations, not affiliated with any candidate or his party can harangue voters pointing out real or imagined injustice to followers of a particular religion or members of a particular caste and urge voters to vote for candidates who they think will undo injustice to them.

 

4. There are religion-based parties like Majlis-Ittehadul-Muslameen, Indian Union Muslim League and Akali Dal committed to the  interest of particular religious groups only.  They are recognised by the  Election Commission.  Their appeal, even without pronouncing, can only be to the  followers of the  religions designated by the names of their  parties themselves. Will they be de-recognised if they do not drop their  denominational identity?

5. The exertions of  great statesmen like Dr Ambedkar and  several others that caste should  be annihilated and   there should be no religion -committed politics ,  minorityism  or majorityism are totally subverted and undermined by  unscrupulous political parties  and their leaders who seem to be bent upon somehow getting the  votes, seize power and enrich themselves,  by throwing  a few crumbs in the name of  welfare to the laity.

6.  What will the  following advocacies be termed (religion, caste…?)  if they are either by candidates or their  agents, with/without the  consent of  either

·         Favouring some religions by not administering  and managing their places of worship but doing so only in respect of another  is anti-secular and so would/should be done away with

·         Subsidising the pilgrimages of followers of some  religions but not others is anti-secular  and so  would/should be done away with

·         Government spending tax-payers’ money to give gifts ad  receptions and   dinners to the followers of some religions and  not  giving such favours to followers of  other religions is not secular and so should end.

·         Government spending tax-payers’ money for construction of  places of worship, congregations and marriage halls meant for followers of some religions and not others is not secular; vote for those  who will stop this practice.

·         Government establishing and financing state-funded corporations  for welfare and  disbursal of  loans and  financial assistance to people of some  religious and  castes and not other religions is anti-secular and  communal and  casteism and such discriminatory policies and  practices should/would be ended.

·         Government funding of schools imparting primarily religious instruction is  anti-secular  and indirect taxation  on people/enterprises belonging to religions /faiths whose such schools are  not funded by government.  Such funding should be ended.

·         Reservations on the basis of religions (A.P & Telangana) are subversion of our Constitution.  To circumvent the constitutional bar, labelling some or all followers of casteless religion as castes and  categorising them as B.Cs, OBCs; S.Cs etc., of caste-having religion(s) is a subterfuge and  fraud on our Constitution; so, such policies and practices will be opposed  and if already  resorted to would/should be undone.

·         Activities and  propaganda which  preach if one does not belong to or embrace a particular religions he/she will not be “saved” and would go to hell are promotive of intolerance, strife and disturbance to peace and  harmony and so would be stopped.

 

7. All these propositions are supportive and strengthening of our Constitution’s directives and guaranteed right. As some parties and candidates are  disregarding them, candidates or their  agents or parties or simply non-party organisations  and  writers may exhort voters to  vote for genuinely  secularist  candidates/ parties.  Would  this amount to corrupt practice in the  view of the  Supreme Court, or would reality trump the  Supreme Courts vacuous verdict?  (839 words) –END-