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Election Commission deletes 111 'non-existent' political parties from list

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    6th Jul, 2022

Overview

  • About Political system in India
  • Unregistered Political Parties
  • Constitutional Provisions
  • Legal Actions
  • Suggestive measures

Context

The Election Commission of India has ordered the deletion of 111 registered unrecognized political parties as it found to be “non-existent” and referred three of the parties to the Department of Revenue for legal action for “serious financial impropriety”

Background

  • There are 2,796 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs), according to EC’s data till September 2021.
  • The number of registered unrecognized political parties has increased two-fold from 2010 to 2019, according to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
  • Till September 2021, as many as 2,796 RUPPs were listed, which was an increase of over 300% since 2001.

Analysis

What are registered unrecognized political parties (RUPPs)?

  • RUPPs are the newly registered parties or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in the assembly or general elections to become a state party, or those which have never contested elections since being registered are considered unrecognized parties.

Conditions for recognition as a national party: Constitutional Provisions

A political party shall be treated as a national party if it fulfills any of the following conditions:

  • Secure at least 6 per cent of votes polled in four or more states in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, and, in addition, it has at least four members in the Lok Sabha.
  • It also has to have at least 2 per cent of the total Lok Sabha seats and its candidates come from not less than three states.
  • It is recognized as a state party in at least four states.

Need to Un-register these parties

The Election Commission of India issued guidelines on 'Transparency and Accountability in party funds and election expendituresubmission of reports by un-recognized political parties' which were applicable to all political parties w.e.f 1st October, 2014.

As per these guidelines:

  • All unrecognised parties are required to submit their requisite reports in the office of the respective state Chief Election Officers (CEOs).
  • Scanned copies of annual audited accounts, contribution reports and statements of election expenditure shall be uploaded on the websites of CEOs of the respective-states, within three days of receipt of the same for viewing by the public.

Findings:

  • Increased Number:
  • There are 2,360 political parties registered with the Election Commission of India and 97.50% of them are unrecognised.
  • From 1,112 registered unrecognised parties in 2010, the number has increased to 2,301 in 2019.
  • Donation to these Parties: The contribution reports of only 78 or 3.39% of the total 2,301 registered unrecognised parties are available in the public domain for Financial Year (FY) 2018-19.

How the move will be beneficial?

  • It will encourage the political parties to become more responsible and transparent.
  • Government will also be motivated to focus on enumerating proper guidelines for political parties to adhere to
  • Will allow the citizens to make better choices in elections
  • It will act as one step forward in the direction to keep political parties under the purview of RTI.

Conclusion

Transparency and trust is the hallmark of electoral democracy. Political parties are one of the most important stakeholders in the election process. They themselves should focus on their functioning and conduct because that will become the blue print for their voters to vote for them during elections.

PRACTICE QUESTION

Q1. Critically analyse the role and powers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in conducting free and fair elections.

Q2. Do you think the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) needs to be strengthened further? Substantiate your answer.

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