New Delhi: Upset over failure of successive governments to bring key electoral reforms, Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought his intervention in speeding up the reform process.

Among some of the key electoral reforms suggested by the poll body and now mentioned by the CEC relate to debarring of criminals from contesting elections and curbing the role of money power in elections by bringing transparency in funding of political parties and getting their accounts audited.

Besides, the CEC has also sought constitutional immunity to two EC's as granted to CEC and funding the poll body through the Consolidated Fund of India, as done in the case of other constitutional bodies.

Quraishi has listed the key electoral reforms in three different categories, with some requiring an amendment to the Constitution, some others an amendment to the Representation of People Act and yet some others needing only an amendment to the rules.

He said there were many reforms which could be brought into effect by mere amendment of rules by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

He said even though the EC had proposed electoral reforms in 1998 and reiterated the same in November 1999, July, 2004, and October, 2006, with various governments, none of them has seen the light of the day.

Quraishi has in his letter expressed hope that the reforms will soon come through. The CEC said he is "satisfied that the Prime Minister has always given support to the Election Commission's electoral reforms" and would ensure the same are brought in early.

Listing the turn of events, Quraishi said former Law Minister M Veerappa Moily had kindled some hopes to EC when he initiated a dialogue with the Commission and started regional consultations on electoral reforms.

However, with the reforms still to see the light of the day even now, Quraishi has told the Prime Minister that the Commission is "deeply disappointed".

The CEC also questioned the political will of successive governments in bringing the electoral reforms early and thought it apropriate to write to the PM for his intervention in this matter.

The CEC also batted for the Election Commissioners, who do not enjoy the constitutional immunity he does, and sought the Prime Minister's intervention in providing the same to them.

He said since the CEC can only be removed through an impeachment in Parliament like all constitutional authorities, the two ECs be also given the same status. He also suggested that EC get its funds from the Consolidated Fund of India, as in the case of other constitutional bodies.

Among some of the key electoral reforms listed by CEC in his letter to the Prime Minister include de-criminalization of politics and political parties reforms, besides stopping the misuse of religion for electoral gain, amendment of law to make `paid news’ an electoral offence, punishment for electoral offences to be enhanced, stopping of government- sponsored advertisements six months ahead of elections,
prohibition of campaign during the 48 hours in the run up to polls, punishment for false affidavit by candidates and ban on transfer of election officers on the eve of elections.

Besides, EC has also sought totalize for counting of votes so that candidate is not able to know the voting patterns of pockets and areas.

(Agencies)