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Party - recognised & registered UPSC NOTE

 What are registered parties?

  • Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RP Act) lays down the requirements for registration of a political party with the ECI

  • Any political party that seeks registration should submit a copy of its memorandum/constitution

  • Such document should declare that the party shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India. 

  • It should also bear allegiance to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy, and uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. 

  • Registered political parties enjoy the following legal benefits – 

    • (a) tax exemption for donations received under Section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, 

    • (b) common symbol for contesting general elections to the Lok Sabha/State Assemblies, and 

    • (c) twenty ‘star campaigners’ during election campaign

  • As per the ECI, there are 2,790 active registered political parties in India.

What are recognised parties?

  • A registered party is referred to as a Registered Unrecognised Political Party (RUPP)

  • Political parties are recognised as a ‘national’ or ‘State’ party under the provisions of The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 (Symbols Order) by the ECI

  • The criteria for recognition at the ‘national’ or ‘State’ level consists of winning requisite number of seats and/or obtaining required percentage of votes in a general election to Lok Sabha or State Assembly

  • At present, there are six ‘national’ parties, and sixty-one ‘State’ parties that have been recognised

  • These recognised parties enjoy additional concessions of having a reserved symbol during elections and forty ‘star campaigners’.

What are the issues?

  • It has been noticed that less than a third of RUPPs contest elections

  • The RP Act does not confer explicit powers on the ECI to de-register any political party if it fails to contest elections, conduct inner-party elections or lodge requisite returns

  • The Supreme Court in Indian National Congress versus Institute of Social Welfare & Ors (2002) had held that the ECI does not have power to de-register any political party under the RP Act

  • It may de-register only under exceptional circumstances like registration being obtained by fraud or the political party ceasing to have allegiance to the Constitution or if it is declared unlawful by the Government

  • The RUPPs that don’t contest elections raise concerns over the possible misuse of income tax exemption and donations collected being used for money laundering.

  • The MCC prohibits using caste and communal feelings to secure votes, and bribing or intimidation of voters

  • Recognised political parties are guilty of violating the MCC on various occasions

  • However, it has been observed that the ECI on such occasions at best bars leaders from campaigning for a short period of two to three days.

Grounds for Derecognition of a Political Party as National party (as per ECI):

  • If the party fails to secure at least 6% of the total votes polled in the general election to the LS or the legislative assembly of the state concerned, and if it fails to have at least 4 MPs elected in the last LS polls (also, it doesn't win 1 seat in the LS from the same state.); or

  • If it has won at least 2% of the total seats in the LS from at least 3 states.

  • If it fails to secure 8% of the total valid votes polled in the state at a General Election to the LS from the state or to the State LA.

  • If the party fails to submit its audited accounts to the ECI on time.

  • If the party fails to hold its organizational elections on time.

What needs to be done?

  • The ECI in its memorandum for electoral reforms (2016) has suggested amendment to the law that would empower the ECI to deregister a party

  • The Law Commission in its 255th report (2015) on ‘Electoral reforms’ has also recommended amendments for de-registration of a political party if it fails to contest elections for 10 consecutive years

  • These recommendations should be implemented

  • Under Paragraph 16A of the Symbols order, the ECI has the power to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe MCC or follow lawful directions of the Commission

  • It has probably been used only once for three weeks in 2015 when the recognition of National People’s Party was suspended for failure to follow the directions of the ECI

  • Strict action under this provision would have a salutary effect in ensuring adherence to the MCC.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Party - recognised & registered UPSC NOTE
Party - recognised & registered UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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