An act of accountability

  • 30/08/2002

After Switzerland, Madhya Pradesh (MP) is the second place in the world where electorates can recall an elected representative. Recently, the president of the Anuppur municipality in Sahdol district, Palavika Patel, was recalled from her office. Sixty three per cent of the total electorate voted against Patel. This was the first such successful instance in MP after it amended its MP panchayat Raj Adhiniyam of 1993 to introduce the right to recall, which covers the Gram panchayat and Nagar panchayats (municipalities).

MP is the first and only state of India that has added such a clause in its panchayat Act. According to Article 21 (A) of the MP panchayat (Amendment) Act of 1999, every sarpanch of the gram sabha can be recalled through a secret ballot. More than 50 per cent vote is required to recall a representative. A representative cannot be called back before he/she completes two and a half years in office. A proposal signed by three-fourth of total councillors makes mandatory to ask for elections to exercise right to recall. Similarly, in the MP state municipality Act and municipality, laws have been amended to give the power to the members of municipal bodies to recall the entire elected representative including the president and the mayor.

Though the efficacy of such an act is still being debated because of its possible misuse, MP chief minister Digvijay Singh seems convinced that it would go a long way in ensuring accountability of the elected representative towards people. Reacting to the Anuppur episode he said, "It has laid down road for a stronger democracy'.

Related Content