Have power to register, want authority to cancel registration of parties: EC to Law Min

Amid an ongoing cleanup exercise to identify unrecognised parties involved in corrupt practices, the Election Commission has made a renewed push to get powers to de-register political parties.The election law provides the poll panel power to register an association of people as a political party, but does not give it the authority to de-register.


PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 26-06-2022 14:25 IST | Created: 26-06-2022 14:20 IST
Have power to register, want authority to cancel registration of parties: EC to Law Min
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Amid an ongoing cleanup exercise to identify unrecognized parties involved in corrupt practices, the Election Commission has made a renewed push to get powers to de-register political parties.

The election law provides the poll panel power to register an association of people as a political party but does not give it the authority to de-register. At a recent interaction with the Union Legislative Secretary, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is learned to have pushed for this power to withdraw the registration of political parties. The poll panel had been writing to the government to grant it power under the Representation of the People Act to de-register a political party on certain grounds.

The poll panel believes that many political parties get registered but never contest elections. Such parties exist only on paper.

The possibility of forming political parties with an eye on availing the benefit of income tax exemption also cannot be ruled out, the Election Commission (EC) feels.

A senior official said the Commission which has the power to register political parties is also empowered to de-register in appropriate cases. He said adequate safeguards can be put in place while giving EC this authority.

Under the constitution, the Election Commission is required to function independently and ensure free and fair elections. An inquiry into non-compliance with the conditions for the grant of registration might involve the Commission in matters of a political nature and could mean monitoring by the Commission of the political activities, programs, and ideologies of political parties. This, EC feels, is perhaps the reason why it has not been given the power to cancel the registration of a political party.

The poll body had recently deleted from its register a total of 198 registered unrecognized political parties as they were found to be "non-existent" during a verification exercise aimed at cleaning up the system.

In a recent statement, the poll panel had said that a reference has also been sent to the Department of Revenue for necessary legal and criminal actions against three such parties involved in serious financial impropriety.

A list of registered unrecognized political parties (RUPPs) that have not submitted their contribution reports in FY HYPERLINK ''tel:201718''2017-18, HYPERLINK ''tel:201819''2018-19 and HYPERLINK ''tel:201920''2019-20 has been shared with the Revenue Department for taking all consequential action as per Representation of the People Act read with the relevant provisions of the IT Act 1961, it had said.

Another list of 66 RUPPs that have claimed income tax exemption without submitting contribution reports as mandated under the law has also been shared with the Revenue Department.

There are nearly 2,800 registered unrecognized political parties in India. Besides, eight parties are recognized as national parties and over 50 as recognized state parties.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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