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Private member Bill seeks PM-led panel for selecting Chief Election Commissioner

  • Published
    12th Dec, 2022
Context

A private member’s Bill in Lok Sabha has been introduced, which seeks the formation of a high-level committee, in order to bring transparency to the functioning of political parties.

What is Private members’ Bill?

  • A private member’s Bill is different from a government Bill and is piloted by an MP who is not a minister.
  • Individual MPs may introduce private member’s Bills to draw the government’s attention to what they might see as issues requiring legislative intervention.

An MP who is not a minister is a private member and while both private members and ministers take part in the law-making process, Bills introduced by private members are referred to as private member’s Bills and those introduced by ministers are called government Bills.

About

About the Bill introduced:

  • Aim: The Bill seeks to give more power to the Election Commission to ‘regulate, monitor and superintend’ the internal functioning of all political parties, including internal elections of all registered political parties.
  • Need of the Bill:
    • The internal functioning and structures of a large number of political parties have become very “opaque and ossified” and there is a need to make their functioning transparent, accountable and rule-based.
  • Key features:
  • Formation of a Committee: Bill seeking setting up of a committee – consisting of;
      • The Prime Minister,
      • Home Minister,
      • Leader of Opposition or floor Leader in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and
      • Chief Justice of India and two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
    • Fixed tenure: The Bill envisages a fixed tenure of six years for the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners and three years from the date of appointment for the Regional Commissioners.
    • On internal elections of political parties: A provision in the Bill says that the “regulation, monitoring and superintendence of internal functioning including but not limited to the internal election of all registered political parties under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 shall be vested in the Election Commission.
    • The Election Commission shall regulate, monitor and superintend the internal election of registered political parties, in accordance with their respective constitutions until a Model Internal Code is prescribed by the Election Commission.
    • For non-compliance to the norms: If any registered political party fails to comply with the advisories, duration and instructions issued by the Election Commission with regard to their internal functions, the recognition of such political party as a State or National may be withdrawn.

Has a private member’s bill ever become a law?

  • As per PRS Legislative, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970.
  • To date, Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956.
  • In the 14th Lok Sabha, of the over 300 private member’s Bills introduced, roughly four per cent were discussed; the remaining 96 per cent lapsed without a single dialogue.
  • The selection of Bills for discussion is done through a ballot.
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