Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Representation of People’s Act”
4) Explain Section 123 of Representation of People’s Act 1951? Examine whether mass religious appeals for electoral gains can be categorised as a corrupt practice?(250 words)
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain what RPA is in brief and section 123 of RPA in greater detail. We need to explain what corrupt electoral practices are and the impact of it. Thereafter, we need to bring out the issues surrounding section 123(3) of RPA 1951 and examine the view of SC in this matter, and discuss the ruling and its impact.
Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain what RPA is along with Section 123 of RPA,1951. Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act sets out certain “corrupt electoral practices”.
- Discuss the outcome of being found guilty for corrupt electoral practices.
- Discuss section 123(3) of RPA, 1951 and explain the verdict of SC in this matter – that politicians cannot seek votes on the grounds of caste, creed or religion, state must always be secular, and that the word ‘his’ only in Section 123 (3) of RPA means complete ban on any reference or appeal to religion, race, community, caste and language during elections
- Discuss the reasoning behind this verdict – underlying philosophy of India’s election regime was that, in order to maintain the “purity” of the electoral process, certain kinds of arguments had to be taken off the table. These included appeals to religion, caste, language etc., since they were inherently divisive and contrary to constitutional values.
The court also held that the secular character of the Indian republic mandated excluding religion from public life altogether
- Discuss the impact of the verdict
Conclusion – Give your view on what this means for appeals to identity for securing votes, going forward.