Nitika, BBA LL,B., Lovely professional university ,Punjab


The term right to recall (RTR) means, the right of the citizens to recall the any of the executive or representative. The right of an employee under a collective bargaining agreement to be recalled to the employement within the specified period after being laid off. The procedure as well as right by which the public official most probably an executive or the legislative official, can be or may be removed or replace from their respective offices, before the end of his/her tenure of an office, by a vote of people to be taken on the petition signed by a required percentage or number of the qualified voters who had filled the petition.



 Recall has a history dating back to the ancient Athenian democracy and is a feature of several contemporary constitutions.The concept of recall originated in Switzerland but became operative in several American States. The recall device began in the United States in a municipality in Los Angeles in 1903. Michigan and Oregon, in 1908, were the first the States to adopt recall procedures for state officials.[1] It is a proposed law in India that would allow citizens to replace public servants holding key posts in the government. RTR law will be implemented if majority Indian citizens display their support via TCP law[2]


The status of RIGHT OF RECALL in world(other countries) is that, right of citizens or peoples to recall appointed officials is the time-honored tradition that occurs at a date earlier than the United States itself. A Massachusetts Charter of 1691 includes the right of recall, as did different states constitutions following an American Revolution. Even the U.S. Constitution primarily involves the right to recall U.S. senators, in the pre-Seventeenth Amendment days before 1912, when senators were nominated by the state legislatures rather than elected by the famous vote. The right of the famous recall was added to some other state constitutions around a turn of the last century. In 1995, a recall provision was added to the New Jersey constitution: “The people reserve unto themselves the power to recall, after at least 1 year of the service, any appointed official in this State or representing this State in the United States Congress.”


Recalling appointed officials is not the attribute of  the office, it is an element of an electoral process, and the Constitution clearly lefts the electoral process in  hands of the states. Our Constitution contains so many provisions to save our right to representative government, by and of the people.



 In India it was the late Jayaprakash Narayan who had first given a call for the right to recall the elected representatives on November 4, 1974 during his Sampoorna Kranti (Total Revolution) movement against a Congress government headed by an Indira Gandhi at Centre followed by the Janata Government in 1977 and an again during the National Front Government in 1989. The right to recall the appointed representative has remained national. In State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. v. Shri Ram Singh Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that, “Corruption in the civilized society is like cancer, which if not detected in the time is final to malignise the polity of a country leading to the disastrous effects. It is known as the plague which is not only the contagious but if not controlled spreads like the fire in the jungle. Its virus is compared with HIV leading to AIDS, being incurable.

It has also been known as royal thievery. The socio-political system exposed to such a dreaded communicable disease is likely to crumble under its own weight. Corruption is against to the democracy and social order, being not only anti-people, but also an object  and targeted at them. It effects an economy and quash  cultural heritage. Unless nipped in the bud at the earliest, it is likely to cause the turbulence shaking of socio-economic political system in an otherwise healthy, wealthy, effective and vibrating society”.

TCP, RTR law drafts are proposed by a non registered group called Right to Recall Group. These laws will reduce corruption and give more power to the citizens.[3]

To implement the right to recall, Mr Gandhi has proposed an amendment in the Representation of the People Act 1951 through his Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by which the process can be initiated by any voter of the constituency by filing a petition before the Speaker and which is signed by at least one fourth of the total number of electors. This bill merits serious consideration.[4]

The reasons why Right to Recall should be introduced:

  • Right to recall would make an India the democracy in the true sense. No need to condone the corrupt as well as wrong person for the full 5 year tenure.


  • Good performance of an appointed representative would be an ensured by Right to Recall because they can be detach or replaced from position due to non-performance.


  • Promises made during the time of elections would be fulfilled by Representative due the worriedness that he/she may be kicked out if he/she does not keep the promises.



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 a citizen or any one of them would suffice?  Here is what I feel- Granting of the  Right to Reject is a balanced option. It is evident that it has many arguments in favour of it. 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.

 Concluding in the words of The Former Lok Sabha Speaker Mr.Somnath Chatterjee at Thiruvanthapuram where he recommended the introduction of right to call of elected representatives in India. He said “It is time for us to look for devices such as ‘recall’ to ensure accountability of members of democratic institutions at all stages, before the common people gets totally disillusioned with prevailing system. The performance and  functioning of parliament and its members would improve if people who elected their representatives to voice to see wrong parliamentary proceedings regularly. But, it is not such easy thing to be solved in our parliamentary democracy as all  political parties have to come at agreement, which may be toughest work.”

India, the largest democracy isn’t the most effective one. The irony and clumsiness of the electoral process in India is that it has not been able to keep out criminal, anti-social and undesirable elements from participating in and even directing political scene and polluting electoral and parliamentary processes. It can be corrected only by putting voters in control and ‘Right to recall’, is good accountability tool. At present, provision for recall is important in democracy because appointed representative at all levels give impression that they have protection from all laws of country and majority of them acts only for profit earning not for the welfare of the state.


[1] http://www.mightylaws.in/492/recall-democracy

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_Recall

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_Recall

[4] http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/right-to-recall-will-keep-mps-mlas-on-their-toes/story-h5nz68rGLTaIdqb3rvpliJ.html

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