Terming it "impractical" and "not feasible" in the current Indian
political context, constitutional experts reject activist Anna
Hazare's idea of the right to recall a member of parliament.
"The idea is impractical as constituency sizes in India are too
large. It would be practically difficult to collect signatures of
voters opting for a right to recall and verify the same," former
Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash Kashyap told IANS.
Senior Supreme Court advocates P.P. Rao and Kamini Jaiswal also
expressed similar views.
Defending the idea, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said it
needs to be set in motion. "It is not unusual," Prashant told
IANS. "Right to recall operates in many countries."
He said voters should have a right to recall an MP "if he does not
perform according to the wishes of the people, disrupts House,
takes bribe for voting or remains absent".
"A rule can be made requiring a minimum of 33 percent voters for
any right to recall to become operative," said Bhushan.
However, experts said the right to recall is more suitable for
Panchayat and Zila Parishad elections where the size of the
constituency is smaller than assembly or Lok Sabha constituencies.
Hazare went on a 12-day fast in August at the Ramlila Maidan in
Delhi to demand a strong and more inclusive Lokpal
Bill. He has announced that his next campaign will be for a right
to recall erring elected representatives.
Senior Supreme Court advocate P.P. Rao too believes the idea is
not feasible as it throws up many unanswered questions: "How to
recall? Who will do it? On which issues? And under what
These would have to be addressed first, he felt.
"Illiteracy among voters will affect the success of the right to
recall," he added.
The idea did not find favour with another senior Supreme Court
advocate, Kamini Jaiswal.
"It is not practical," Jaiswal said. "The process of implementing
such an idea in a large country with a huge
electorate will be very expensive."
According to experts, technically, a right to recall means if
voters are unsatisfied with their elected representative, they are
able to recall the person before his/her tenure ends.
At present, there is no such provision in the Indian constitution
or in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Recall procedures vary around the world. In Canada, under the
Recall and Initiative Act, 1995, the requirement is over 40
percent of the voters.
In the US, the number varies in different states, where recall
attempts have been largely ineffectual with only two governors-
Lynn J. Frazier (North Dacota) in 1921 and Gray Davis (California)
in 2003 -- being removed successfully.
(Amit Agnihotri can be contacted at email@example.com)