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The Mother India

  A Home page to achieve Electoral reforms, true democracy & citizens sovereignty in India



                                                                                                                                           August 24th, 2002

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
President of India
Rashtrapathi Bhavan
New Delhi

Esteemed Rashtrapathi ji,

            On behalf of the National Campaign for Electoral Reforms, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for returning the Ordinance seeking to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for the reconsideration of the Council of Ministers. Your action enthuses the whole nation, and renews the hope of peaceful transformation of our beloved country. You acted with exceptional diligence, courage, constitutionalism and statesmanship.

            We hope that your wise counsel will be heeded by the union government, and the unconstitutional provisions violating Article 19 (1) of the constitution will be deleted before recommending to you again; or the Ordinance proposal will be dropped altogether, and full disclosures as ordered by the Election Commission will prevail. The legitimate concerns of the political parties about discretion in the hands of the returning officers can be easily addressed by a simple amendment of Rule 4 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
The Congress, as the main opposition party, has formally declared its unequivocal support to full disclosures of criminal and financial antecedents as directed by the Supreme Court. I am enclosing a copy of the letter from the office of the leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha reiterating this stand.

            Under the circumstances, we are confident that the government will now act in keeping with the highest tradition of democracy and refrain from a patently illiberal and unconstitutional path. If, however, wiser counsels do not prevail, then the nation will once again look up to you to defend the Constitution and protect the citizensí fundamental rights.
If the Ordinance is resubmitted to you without providing for full disclosures, then it will be directly in conflict with the fundamental rights, and the Supreme Court judgment of May 2. The Courtís jurisdiction in interpreting fundamental rights is nonnegotiable. Such an Ordinance would be clearly violative of Article 13 of the Constitution. As President and head of state, you have already cautioned your government. If such caution on a matter as critical as fundamental rights is not heeded, then you would be perfectly correct in seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court under Art 143. We respectfully appeal to you to refer the Ordinance to the Supreme Courtís opinion, should the Ordinance be resubmitted to you without providing for full disclosures.

            Indian democracy needs to be rejuvenated through comprehensive electoral and governance reforms. Disclosure of antecedents of candidates is but the first vital step in this direction. The nation looks up to you to defend democracy and liberty. If the parties and government fail to respond to peopleís urges, then you have to step in. You have already proved that the nationís interests are secure in your hands. We could not have asked for better leadership and guidance in this daunting task of democratic transformation.

With warm regards

Jayaprakash Narayan
National Coordinator

Encl: Letter from the Leader of the Opposition



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