New Delhi — The Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi is reportedly toying with the idea of bringing some far-reaching legislative steps to give a cleaner image to political organizations in respect of their financial resources.
He is also thinking of curtailing powers of governors in the event of large-scale defections in the states.
According to informed sources the Prime Minister has given some guidelines to his legal experts to examine them and prepare a report soon after the state Assembly elections in March. The sources say that the Antireflection Bill passed by Parliament was the first step towards removing political corruption. The bill deals with the. Legislators only. The Prime Minister now wants to weed out corruption in politics at organizational levels also.
As a follow-up of the Anti-Defection Bill, the Prime Minister feels that the present practice of producing legislators before the state Governor to prove a particular claimant’s majority should be stopped. The best forum for proving the majority should be the Assembly. Therefore, any group claiming a majority must prove its claim in the Assembly within two or three days after its defections. The number of days to be fixed for proving a majority in the legislation can be decided in consultation with the national opposition leaders. If this is adopted, the state governors will have no powers to install any defectors ministry which will not have a majority in the House.
Another matter on which work is being done is the financial resources of the political parties. The legal experts are examining this matter in the light of the Prime Minister’s guidelines. Mr. Gandhi is stated to be keen on adopting all possible legal measures to change the public life. According to him the public must know about the financial resources of the political parties.
One of the suggestions under consideration is that funds of all political parties should be audited. The possibility of contributions to political parties by business concerns through crossed cheques is also being examined. All donations to political parties should be through cheques which should come on record. A suggestion to make all political parties submit their accounts every year to the Election Commission or disclose it to the public is also being examined.
The basic idea behind this move is that all those who hold important positions either in political organizations or in the Government should not have any opportunity to collect funds in the name of the party.
These proposals will be discussed at various forums after the March elections.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 1, 1985