MPs and MLAs should be recalled within two years from being elected if 75 per cent of those who voted for them are not satisfied with their performance, according to a bill moved by BJP MP Varun Gandhi. “Logic and justice necessitate that if the people have the power to elect their representatives, they should also have the power to remove these representatives when they engage in misdeeds or fail to fulfil the duties,” Varun said.
Stating that the countries all over the world have experimented with the concept of Right to Recall, the Lok Sabha MP has proposed an amendment in the Representation of the People Act 1951 through his Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2016. As per the legislation, recalling process can be initiated by any voter of the constituency by filing a petition before the Speaker, signed by at least one-fourth of the total number of electors in that constituency.
After confirming its authenticity, the Speaker will move the application to the Election Commission for its verification and authentication of the voters’ signatures on it. The Commission will verify the signatures on it and will organise the voting on 10 places in the respective constituency of MP or MLA, it says.
If three-fourth of the votes that member was polled in his election, go in favour of the recall process, the member will be recalled, the bill proposes.
Within 24 hours of the receipt of the result, the Speaker will notify the result to the general public. Once the seat gets duly vacated the Commission can organise a bypoll in that constituency.
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“A free and fair election is the right of the citizens of the country and in the event of their elected representatives no longer enjoying their confidence, the people must have a right to remove them,” Varun said. It is on the edifice of accountability of politicians that the true idea of democracy can be achieved, he added. At present there is no recourse to the electorate if they are unhappy with their elected representative.
The Representation of the People Act, 1951 only provides for vacation of office upon the commission of certain offences and does not account for general incompetence or dissatisfaction of the electorate as a ground for vacation.
In view of the potential for abuse of certain provisions, the bill has accordingly proposed more than adequate punishment for such abuses.
For ensuring that a recall process is not frivolous and does not became a source of harassment to elected members, the entire process has several safeguards incorporated in the bill.
Recall petition will kickstart the process and electronic based voting to finally decide its outcome, the bill says.
The bill provides for verification of signatures and first review by the Speaker of the House concerned. At the same time to ensure that a representative cannot be recalled by a small margin of voters, the threshold for success of a recall petition is accordingly high.