Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Right to be Fairly Represented

Each individual has to live in a State with honour and dignity. In order to enjoy such a status the State, that exists because crime exists, has to be secular, democratic, federal and republican. In other words, the democratic state has to be based on equal and universal right to vote coupled with the system of proportional election. This privilege is now being enjoyed by 22 countries like Germany, Iceland and Malta The rest of the countries – numbering about 188- including India, the USA, the UK, Bangladesh do not have the just system of election. In 2000 US Presidential election, Mr. Al Gore polled the highest number of popular votes but he was not elected as the President .Because the American system of election is so unjust that he was declared as defeated and his rival, Mr. George W. Bush, became the victor and got into the White House. No wonder, the US expressed its theory of “might is right” in wanton violation of the International Law and in complete disregard of the United Nations and World public opinion and it went ahead to invade the sovereign state of Iraq and has kept it as a vassal state till date.
India is having the dirtiest distortive electoral system called the1st-past- the-post system of election. This election system – borrowed from Great Britain – is archaic and highly unjust. It presents a distortion of democratic opinion. Under this system of election political parties do not exhibit their just representative character. Electoral injustice has been there in India since the first general election held in 1952. The grossest politico electoral injustice has been there all throughout. But sadly enough, the same has been ignored by the political class, the elite and the civil society. All citizens who really value the principle of equality and an individual’s right to vote must rebel against the prevalent system. The unjustness of the electoral system does catch our eye as soon as we put the election results of state Legislative Assemblies and that of the Lok Shaba on the scanner of justice. Here we may examine some of the Assembly Election results of the state of Tamil Nadu. In 1957 Assembly election the Congress Party obtained 45.3% of the votes cast as against the DMK’s 12.8% of vote share. Had there been Proportional election system the Congress Party and DMK could have got respectively 93 and 26 seats. But because of the defective system of Election, the Congress captured 151 seats, an excess of 58 seats. The DMK instead of getting 26 seats got just 13. In 1967, the political picture of injustice touched a new low. The Congress Party polled 41.4% of the popular vote and got only 50 seats. Its rival, the DMK, got 40.6 % of the vote and captured 138 seats in a House of 234. The Congress Party polled more votes than what the DMK polled. While the Congress Party sat in the Opposition and DMK ruled the state. Had there been real political justice which has been promised to all the Indians in the Preamble to the Constitution of India, then DMK could have got just 95 seats, not 138. Similarly the Congress could have got 97 seats not a paltry 50. The reprentative Character – reflected in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election of 1971 was no less unjust, no less distortive. The Congress got 17 seats against 35% of vote share. It ought to have got 82 seats, 65 seats more that what it got. The DMK, on the other hand, got 184 seats against 48.6% of the vote. The DMK should have got 114 seats but it got a huge excess of 70 seats.
In a democracy, it is said that the Minority must have its say while the Majority must have its way. But which “Majority” should have its way? Not surely the majority contrived by the British System of election. The nadir of distortion or the lowest point in politico-electoral injustice was indeed touched in 1977. The AIADMK got 126 seats just against 30.4% votes polled. The DMK polled 24.9 % of the vote but got only 48 seats. The Congress (I) and the Janata Party polled respectively 17.5% and 16.7% of the valid votes cast. Though they polled roughly the same percentage of votes, their seat share was widely different. The Janata Party got 10 seats while the Congress (I) got 27 seats. What about the two Communist Parties? The CPI and CPM got nearly the equal percentage of votes. The CPI got 5 seats (vote: 2.9%) and CPM 12 seats (vote: 2.8%). Had there been the German type of Territorial-cum-Proportional system of election or the Swiss model of List system of election, the complexion of the Tamil Nadu Vidhan Sabha in 1977 could have been quite different. The point to be emphasized upon here is this: The AIADMK with minority of votes (30.4%) became the majority party and ruled the state. All other Parties polling 69.6% of vote had to sit in the Opposition with a total of 108 seats. Thus the political mind of the Indian voter is yet to be upgraded and improved upon to fight against the crippling form of politico-electoral in justice that has been going on in India since1952.
It is heartening to note that Nepal, which was hitherto a dictatorial Hindu monarchy, has become a secular Republic and the Nepalese electorate has elected a Parliament of 601 members based on a synthetic system of Territorial-cum-Propor tional election. Because of this just system of election, Computer Engineer Sunil Pant, Leader of the LGBT Group, has been elected to the Nepalese Parliament (the Napalese Constituent Assembly) on the results of the elections held on April 10, 2008.
The state has to be there to ensure balanced developmental activities and ensure justice to one and all. What sort of state is really required? The state has to be a democratic one. It has to be secular, republican and federal on the lines of Switzerland as governed by its Constitutional Law of May 29, 1874.Thus the right to be fairly represented and to be justly governed has to be there to ensure the highest level of politico-electoral justice to each and every citizen. Neither the Indian Democracy that has been modelled under the British Cabinet form of Government nor the Presidential form of Democracy of the USA provides for a system of just representation. Indeed each of these democracies compares very poorly with that of the Swiss form of democracy. The vote of every voter is important in Switzerland as the Swiss people have the List System of Proportional Representation. The Swiss people are justly governed because their government is neither presidential nor prime-ministerial. Their Constitution provides an all-inclusive, pluralistic, rotational, Federal Council – an executive of 7 members for a fixed term of 4 years.

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