T.N. Seshan: The Proponent of Election Reforms in India

Full Name:  Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan

Date and Place of Birth: 15 December 1932, Kerala

Education: Graduation in Physics from the Madras Christian College & master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1968.

Profession: Indian Administrative Service (1955 batch), 18th Cabinet Secretary of India (March 1989–December 1989)

Best known for: Election Reforms in India (12 December 1990 – 11 December 1996)

Awards: Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service in 1996.

About the T. N. Seshan;

T. N. Seshan is known as the father of electoral reforms in India. He took the oath as the 10th Chief Election Commissioner on 12 December 1990 and served till 11 December 1996. He had seen 5 Prime Minister of India during his tenure.

This was the time when the Election Commission was known to a few people and the biggest festival of democracy i.e. Election was under the shadow of big politicians but the entry of T. N. Seshan compelled everybody to accept that Election Commission is a constitutional body and it has some powers too.

He proposed many election reforms in India. To warn the political parties he gave the slogan of "Nobody dared to violate the law."

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This slogan was not praised by many political parties and everybody stand against him later on this situation became like "Seshan versus Nation".

But later on the election reforms taken place in the country and the country experienced many new reforms in the way of election process.

Major Election Reforms started by the T.N.Seshan were;

1. Introduction of Voter IDs for all eligible voters.

2. Strict actions for implementation Election Code of Conduct

3. Set expenditure limit for candidates in the elections

4. Prohibition of distribution of liquor/money during elections.

5. Prohibited bribing or intimidating voters.

6. Use of official machinery for campaigning. But unfortunately this practice is still prevalent.

7. Implementation of the law in election process.

8. Autonomous status to Election Commission of India.

9. Prohibition of use of loudspeakers and high volume music without prior written permission.

10. Prohibited candidates from demanding votes on the basis of caste or communal feelings.

11. Prohibition of use of religious place for election campaigns.

It would not be hyperbole if I say that the legendary bureaucrat Mr. T.N. Seshan was the father of electoral reforms in India. He imitated many crucial reforms to clean the Indian politics but unfortunately due to the unwillingness of the political parties the Indian politics is still dominated by the rich peoples and now the Indian politics became the symbol of 3Ms; Money, Muscles and Mind.

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