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Voting must be made mandatory: retired judge

Special Correspondent

"Corruption of the electoral process cause for concern"



EXCHANGING GREETINGS: M. Anandakrishnan, chairman, Madras Institute of Development Studies (left), and the former parliamentarian, Era Sezhiyan, with S. Krishnaswamy of Krishnaswamy Associates at the screening of a documentary film on electoral process, in Chennai on Thursday. Looking on is Justice K.P. Sivasubramanian, former judge, Madras High Court (seated third from right). — PHOTO: S. THANTHONI

CHENNAI: Voting should be made a compulsory duty and those who are apathetic to it should be penalised, Justice K.P. Sivasubramanian, retired judge, Madras High Court, has said.

Corruption of the electoral process, combined with the apathy of literate voters, was cause for concern in a functioning democracy such as India, he said during the release of the documentary film, `Who loses when India wins?' organised by the Catalyst Trust here on Thursday.

Electoral corruption abetted criminalisation of politics, he said.

The film has been written and directed by S. Krishnaswamy of Krishnaswamy Associates as part of a campaign by the National Campaign for Political Reforms to push for electoral reforms.

It was undeniable that money power was playing a decisive part in determining the outcome of elections.

A healthy nationwide debate was needed to change the system, he said.

Vicious spiral

Immorality in the electoral process was creating a vicious spiral, in which people and politicians were equally responsible, M. Anandakrishnan, chairman, Madras Institute of Development Studies, said.

It was the power of the people that saved the country every time democracy faced a crisis, the former parliamentarian, Era Sezhiyan, said.

One-hour documentary

The one-hour documentary showcases the culture of malfeasance in the electoral process, especially in the `First Past the Post' system that is being practised, and suggests that the proportional representation system is a better alternative.

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