Right to Recall in India: Meaning and Implications

(Hello folks! Here is the long awaited article on Right to recall. I hope I will be forgiven for such inexplicable delay! For those who are new, let me tell you that there is another article written by me which deals with pros and cons of Right to Reject. You would be able to appreciate the conclusion of this article if you could please read the post on Right to Reject by following this link. Its not compulsory to read at all..This post will make sense either way. Don’t forget to comment! Nothing stimulates the mind better than a discussion. )

Meaning of Right to Recall

“The right or procedure by which a public official, commonly a legislative or executive official, may be removed from office, before the end of his term of office, by a vote of the people to be taken on the filing of a petition signed by a required number or percentage of qualified voters.” (Taken from Brainyquote.com)

Right to RecallIn simple terms, we will be granted a right to recall an under-performing/non performing representative before his 5 year term ends. This could be done if voters in the area are of the opinion that the person must be recalled and elections must take place again with new candidates.

Right to Recall has not been introduced in India yet. The demand for it caught momentum when Anna Hazare called for it. There are many people who feel that introduction of this right would curb corruption.

The reasons why Right to Recall should be introduced:

  1. Right to recall would make India a democracy in the true sense. No need to tolerate a corrupt or incompetent person for a full 5 year term.
  2. Good performance of the chosen representative would be ensured by Right to Recall because they can be removed from position due to non-performance.
  3. Promises made during elections would be fulfilled by the Representative due the apprehension that he may be kicked out if he does not keep promises.

Reasons why Right to Recall should not be introduced:

  1. Undue Fear: The representative would be in constant pressure to work the way people want him. He is supposed to be a sensible person with a strong decision making capacity keeping in view the interest of all the members of the society. Constant fear will deter him from taking tough (but good) decisions (e.g. permission to demolish/displace a temple or a Mosque for expansion of road to facilitate the free movement of traffic.)
  2. No certainty: There is uncertainty of the time period he would be serving the public. This uncertainty would make it hard to make plans/policies which yield substantial results in long term. To fulfill public expectations, he will be forced to implement plans and decisions yielding instant results!
  3. Increased Politics: Political rivals would make issue out of smallest of the mistake of the representative and demand a recall election! This gives rise to unnecessary political games!!
  4. Internal Politics:Not only party rivals but also party members intending to grab the seat would keep plotting to throw the present candidate out of the game.
  5. Pleasing People: Representatives would keep spending lots of money just to please people (E.g. Making road where it was already there!)
  6. Scope for terrify and rule: Those representatives who exercise power in smaller constituencies would use force to threaten people who dare to demand re-election under right to recall. (We are all aware that politicians in villages and small districts reign with help of Goondas)
  7. Instability: There will be a state constant political turmoil and politicians would be busy saving seat instead of working for development
  8. Corruption: Political opponents might bribe a group of people and prompt them to demand the elections under Right to recall against present candidate. Other way round, the present candidate would bribe the people demanding recall to shut them up! (‘Daaru’ and ‘Paisa’ works wonders!)
  9. More govt. expenditure: Recall election would imply more expenditure of Tax payer’s money to organize re-elections time and again.


We have analyzed the pros and cons of both, the Right to Reject and the Right to Recall. What do you think now? Should both of them be given to the people or any one of them would suffice?

Here is what I feel- Granting of Right to Reject is a balanced option.  It is evident that it has more arguments in its favour. It is safer and would not lead to constant political upheaval. Parties would be forced to give ticket to a candidate with clean and good past record. Good representatives can actually be expected to keep up their performance for next five years.

What do you say? Comment please

Article by-

Nikita Anand

Co-Founder and Editor, MightyLaws

Student, National Law Institute University, Bhopal.

Picture courtesy: firstpage.blogspot.com

By Nikita Anand on March 10, 2012 · Posted in Governance and Democracy, Simplified concepts

18 Comments | Post Comment

Nivedita says:

A very balanced article. Lucid style of presentation, It serves a complicated legal= political issue in the way best understood by a layman! Kudos! Keep up the good work!

Posted on March 11th, 2012

Nikita Anand says:

I try my best! Thank you Nivedita! 🙂

Posted on March 11th, 2012

Moses Asiago says:

I hope (The right to reject) will ensure leaders are keen with what they do to their citizens. MOSES ASIAGO-KENYA.

Posted on March 11th, 2012

Dr. G. K. Goswami, IPS says:

Dear Nikita,
Halo and Happy Holi to you.
Really you have excellently attempted a highly sensitive topic like right to recall of elected representative.
In India, the voters are mainly driven by extraneous considerations like caste, region, money wine etc. Further Political Parties use give tickets to those candidates who have capacity to win by hook or by crook, to get power. Educated people hardly caste their votes. So merely giving the right to recall may be just futile. Further what should be the objective parameter to judge whether representative have delivered or not?
I think every representative and their close relatives must mandatorily declare their assets annually. The should made public the annual statement of expenditure of their MP LAD and Vidhayak Nidhi. Those who fail to do to furnish public information under Right to Information act-2005, must also be declared fit to recall.
There may be some more ideas to set as parameter to declare a candidate fit for recall. These are my personal ideas.
I once again congratulate you for your nice article indeed.
Thanx Madam.
Dr. G. K. Goswami

Posted on March 11th, 2012

Nikita Anand says:

Your ideas are well placed and highly justified. Transperancy is the mantra for a successful democracy. As soon as Vidhayaks and MPs win a seat.. They become autocratic. Right to Recall might be a relief if implemented properly.

Posted on March 11th, 2012

Pratapbhanu says:

First of all, we wish to thanks for making such awareness on this very needy subject. Today politicians takes groups of people on plimirage, tours & what not, from each ward & seek vote. It is working well in our area, This is what happened in recent polls. So those who are capable will do all sort of such things, Is it real democracy,any body thought about this degradation?

Hence you are 100% right to advocate for “Right to Recall”.
Pl. continue writing such articles, for general awareness.
pratapbhnau, pune, chinchwad.

Posted on March 12th, 2012

Nikita Anand says:

Thank you Mr. Pratapbhanu. I seems that politicians are ready to go to every possible extent to obtain votes! ‘India Shining’ would be dream untill we dont clean the dirty practices in politics!

Posted on March 12th, 2012

Namit Gupta says:

+1 to your conclusion. Reasons against Right to Recall outweight the reasons in favor of it. I too feel it should not be introduced. Right to Reject seems more practical and also more beneficial.

Posted on March 15th, 2012

Nikita Anand says:

Thank you Mr. Gupta. You will find many supporters echoing your opinion. And as it is evident, I am one among them. 🙂

Posted on March 15th, 2012

Manish says:

Thank you Nikita for the article. I was looking for Info when I hit this webpage. Wikipedia is another place for understanding on this matter. My quest began with trying to understand the causes of Anna’s IAC failure this time at jantar mantar. I am a part-time, a hobbyist learner on issues of Politics and Public Governance. As I understand the causes, this failure of the IAC Movement is attributable to the absent RTR and RTReject. I am very much in favour of a RTR, although I was looking for the technical modalities of it which may keep to serve out both the sides, the merit side and the demerit side of the idea of RTR.

Posted on August 5th, 2012

Nikita Anand says:

Hello Manish,

Thanks for commenting. The technical modalities can only be figured out while drafting the RTR legislation or conducting in-depth research. My objective was to give a general overview. I am sorry if it didn’t serve your purpose.


Posted on August 9th, 2012

khan samira says:

so nice artical for the people

Posted on August 29th, 2012

chetan says:

Hello Nikita

I read your article and it was very helpful for me to understand this concept. The most important element of your article i found is the very simple language you used, it explains each and everything very clearly.

I thank to you.
Wish u happy diwali.

Posted on November 10th, 2012

sudhir says:

Very nice elaboration

Posted on December 27th, 2012

Venkat D says:

I understand how responsible we are as Indian citizens about the cons of these acts. But at this point these should be in place otherwise we have to choose one or the other why?

We can end the corruption by using these two acts, as Parties will try to use the best candidates and those should not be spending the money to win elections. Then there is no need for them to earn through dirty politics. They should serve people and should not be busy in earning the money for next elections.

Posted on December 28th, 2012




Posted on January 5th, 2013

rakhi jain says:

a very good information..thanks

Posted on March 26th, 2013

AM says:

I think you have overplayed the ‘cons’ in the above case.

Though this person writes meanderingly, his ideas on how right to recall can put no burden on the ex-chequer are worth considering : http://www.rahulmehta.com/

Posted on June 1st, 2013