undertake to implement police and electoral reforms sign now

Letter by concerned individuals and civil society groups to political parties for including in their election manifesto an agenda for police reforms, and electoral reforms - a long standing public demand.

By now, your party must have started preparing its election manifesto for the forthcoming elections, Lok Sabha and Assembly. We request you to incorporate the following two important pledges in your manifesto , for ensuring a healthier and cleaner democracy:

( a ) Basic police reforms to ensure a truly community-oriented police as against the existing ruler-oriented police.

(b) Electoral Reforms for keeping out the criminal and notoriously corrupt persons from entering into the political system, and

2. Police reforms: Popular perception all over the country is that instead of acting as agent of the community and of law, the police functions as agents of the ruling political party/parties. It is an urgent necessity in the larger interest of the society, therefore, to initiate urgent remedial measures to ensure that the police is made to perform its lawfully enjoined duties in an honest, non-political and professional manner.

3. For achieving the above objective, we urge upon you to make a pledge to the citizens of India through your Election Manifesto that you will ensure the long-overdue basic police reforms and restructuring by

* Implementing without further delay the seven directives of the Honble Supreme Court in toto.
* enacting a new Police Act on the lines of the "Model Police Act" prepared by the Soli Sorabjee Committee (Police Act Drafting Committee / PADC), submitted to the Union Home Minister in October, 2006. Ideally, a suitable amendment in the Constitution of India is desirable to ensure that such a Central model Police Act is applied to /adopted by all States and Union Territories for the sake of uniformity. As this, however, may take time to build the necessary concensus among parties, you will legislate a new police Act individually for the State(s), within a period of say 100 days of your coming to power, and try to build a concesus for a central legislation.

4. Electoral Reforms : In order to ensure a healthy and vibrant democratic system as also for good governance, our country can no longer delay a meaningful electoral reforms with the basic objective of preventing the following two categories of persons from contesting elections at Central (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha), State or local (municipal or panchayat) levels :
(a) Persons with criminal records, i.e. convicted or charge-sheeted in a court of law in serious criminal offences like murder, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous hurt, rape, kidnapping and abduction, extortion, serious rioting assaulting a public servant or under the Arms Act, NDPS Act etc. during the previous 10 (ten) years.
(b) To debar notoriously corrupt persons who have been convicted or charge-sheeted by a court of law under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 or Prevention of Money Laundering Act (2005 as may be amended from time to time) or under the Arms Act, or NDPS Act or in any case of serious economic offences etc. during the previous 10(ten) years.

5. Accordingly, each person desirous of contesting an election at national, State or local level will be required to file, at the time of filing his nomination, a sworn affidavit stating facts and circumstances relating to (a) and (b) above . If subsequent enquiry/investigation to be conducted by the Election Commission, reveals that there were substantive suppression of information or distortion or falsification of facts, his/her election will be declared by the Election Commission as ab initio null and void and he/she will also be debarred from contesting any election at the national, State or local levels during the next 10(ten) years.

6. We urge upon you to please commit in your election manifesto, accordingly. Meanwhile, please acknowledge receipt of this communication.

Yours faithfully,

Name Name of organisation, if any

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