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Fake Affidavits By Elected Representatives: Why Do We Ignore Such Dishonesty?

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By Anusha Sundar:

‘…a Constitution, like a machine, is a lifeless thing. It acquires life because of the men who control it and operate it, and India needs today nothing more than a set of honest men who will have the interest of the country before them…We have communal differences, caste differences, language differences, provincial differences and so forth. It requires men of strong character, men of vision, men who will not sacrifice the interests of the country at large for the sake of smaller groups and areas and who will rise over the prejudices which are born of these differences.’

On the 26th of November 1949, in his speech as the President of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Rajendra Prasad spoke these very profound lines. Profound, because they sensed the need for the kind of people that India required direly at that point of time and later. However, this speech stands today, merely as a text that students of the History and Political Science discipline decipher and dissect as a part of their analysis of the shifting course of the Indian Democracy. Governments have sidelined it to sections of the National Museum, the elected representatives pay no heed to their responsibilities and the citizens of the country are too busy to hold negligent behaviour accountable. The result is a rampant increase in the number of illegal entries into the Parliament and the almost non-existent consequences do little to keep this astoundingly deceitful practice in check.

smritiirani

Stories of MPs filing fake nomination papers or attaching false affidavits flooding the morning newspapers is such a common sight that we often don’t bother to look into it. But here is why we need to ascertain our rights as well as our duties as the citizen of the country – an elector has the right to make an informed decision regarding who he/she wished to represent his/her interests and needs in the State Assemblies or the Parliament. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that correct information is made available to the people of the Constituency. Instead, thousands of MPs make a smooth entry into the Parliament by citing false affidavits.

The Article 102 of the Indian Constitution lists out several disqualifications for the members of the Parliament if they are holding any office of profit, are of unsound mind, are convicted of any criminal activities, have committed electoral offences etc. The concept of submitting an affidavit containing information regarding the candidate’s personal assets, educational qualifications and criminal convictions was conceived as proof of their qualification or disqualification. Failure to submit the affidavit, concealment or providing false information is considered an offense under Section 125(A) of the Representation of the People Act (1951). Yet, 18% of the candidates contesting National elections have criminal cases pending against them and most often, and unsurprisingly enough, they are concealed from public view. Unfortunately, the sentence for this crime is imprisonment for a period of six months or payment of a fine. Therefore, filing false affidavits does not disqualify candidates.

Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee, former Attorney General, rightly commented on the gravity of the situation and its ‘direct bearing on the purity of elections.’ He stressed on the need for an immediate response from the Supreme Court of India and demanded that the submission of false affidavits be made grounds for electoral disqualification. Mr. Sorabjees’s inputs are extremely vital not only because they recognize the fault in the system that allows illegality to flourish, but also because they offer a substantial redressal that will mend it. Faster and stringent measures need to be employed in order to curb this activity. The Election Commission, in its suggestions to the Justice Verma Committee, reasoned for imprisonment up to two years and a removal of the option of a fine payment as a reprisal against an extensive increase in the usage of false affidavits.

A Democracy, in its very principle, functions on the responsibility and reciprocity of the elected representatives. To deceive the citizens and the constituency is not only shameful but also invalidates the democratic structure of the governance. The onus is on the Supreme Court and the Government of India to take severe measures in order to curb this unlawful and dishonest practice.

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  1. Richa

    The quotation right in the beginning of the article gripped my attention and what words were they. I really liked your article – it is sad that there are these representatives who cheat and then it is worse, that the people who are supposed to vote – dont, or just turn a blind eye.

    Why.

  2. Rainbow Singh

    Dr. Rajendra Prasad. That prefix is the one thing he earned in his name.

  3. Manish

    Sujatha,

    Since you are so vocal about Smriti Irani, why can’t you talk a bit more about “Madame” Sonia (or is it Antonia) Maino … err Gandhi and her offspring Raul (eek…Rahul) Vinci (oops..Gandhi)…

    and the litany of lies and distortions they have perpetrated on the Indian people?

    Bloody stooges of the “Scam”GROSS “FART”ty all….

    1. Manish

      Btw, sorry Got your name wrong…(Anusha) and not Sujatha

  4. Manish

    Also Anusha, let me give you the qualifications of your paymasters:

    Antonia: Literate in Italian

    Raul: ???

    Mulayam: Masters in Thuggery (and closet Rapist)

    Laloo: PhD in Robbing the State Treasury

    who else? oh yeah…

    The Great Mayawati: Post Graduate Baccalaureate in Architecture (Statues of herself)

    1. Azar

      Well of course we know them all and thus they are now in the place where they should be …infact by next election you may not even see there faces…but now as we have seen all these stupid people and there stupid policies the country is willing to have good and qualified intellectuals as the ministers and not liars ..So whats wrong in that…Also how funny to have an HRD minister who doesnt even know the diffrence beween a degree making policies for PHD’s and researchers…All on her communication and acting skills acquired from TV serials does not make her a prominent leader just as beacuse she can speak well …God bless India ..We need to set expectation bar for ministers to such an hieght that just like Civil Service is considered toughest of exam a seat of a minister should be full of thorns and so tough that it would no longer be there for scamters and people who want to make money in 5 years time

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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