Since its inception, ADR has had the the following achievements:
- Filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Delhi High Court requesting that candidates contesting elections to Parliament and State Assemblies be required to declare any criminal cases pending against them at the time of filing their nominations, and that this information be made available to the voters to enable them to make an informed choice while casting their votes.
This was upheld by the Delhi High Court on November 2, 2002. the Union of India appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the Delhi High Court judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court in its judgement delivered on May 2, 2002.
When it came to be known that Government of India was planning to issue an Ordinance for amending the Representation of People’s Act to prevent implementation of of the Supreme Court’s judgement of May 2, 2002, a group of 26 people from different parts of the country representing more than 20 civil society organization met the President on August 16, 2002 requesting him not to sign the Ordinance because it was violative of the Constitution. This group of 26 people included three members of ADR.
- Conducted a sample survey for checking the accuracy of electoral rolls in Gujarat. This was conducted before the November 2002 State Assembly Elections in Gujarat. Volunteers of ADR went from hour to house checking the accuracy of electoral rolls in five polling booths, three in urban and two in rural areas.
The survey found that there was as many as 32% errors, both of omission and commission, in the electoral rolls.
- Conducted an Election Watch for the November 2002 State Assembly Elections in Gujarat bringing the criminal background of Candidates contesting elections to the notice of the electorate. Volunteers of ADR collected information on criminal background of candidates from a variety of sources, which was cross-checked with the affidavits the candidates submitted along with their nomination papers, as required by the Ordinance.
A Committee consisting of eminent citizens of Gujarat including three retired Chief Justices of High Court, two retired Director Generals of Police, several Academics, Lawyers, Doctors and other active citizens, was formed to verify the information collected by ADR volunteers.
As a result of the above exercise, a list of 138 candidates contesting elections to the Gujarat Assembly who had criminal background was released to the media. In the 182 constituencies, 138 candidates had criminal records including 63 from the two major political parties. Approximately one in six from the two parties had a criminal record.
- Filed another Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court in September 2002 challenging the constitutionality of Section 33-B of the Representation of People’s (Amendments) Act 2002. This was one of the three petitions which resulted in the March 13, 2003 judgement of the Supreme Court, which declared Section 33-B of the Representation of People’s (Amendment) Act unconstitutional, null and void.