EC clamps down on registered unrecognised parties flouting rules
Unrecognised political parties
- Either newly registered parties (under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951) or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party or those which have never contested in elections since being registered are considered unrecognised parties. Such parties don’t enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties.
Provisions for recognised party status
- A recognised political party shall either be a National party or a State party if it meets certain laid down conditions.
- The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, lays down the criteria for declaring any registered political party as a national party or a state party.
- As per the Election symbols order, a registered political party needs to fulfil at least one of the following three conditions to be recognised as a national party:
- It needs to win a minimum two percent of seats in the Lok Sabha (11 seats) from at least three different states.
- It needs to get at least six percent of votes in four states in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, in addition to winning four Lok Sabha seats.
- It needs to get recognised as a state party in four or more states.
- In order to be recognised as a state party, a political party needs to fulfil at least one of the four criteria laid down by the Election Commission of India.
- A political party will be recognised as a state party:
- If it wins three percent of the total seats in the Legislative Assembly of the state (subject to a minimum of three seats).
- If it wins one Lok Sabha seat for every 25 Lok Sabha seats allotted for the state.
- If it gets at least six percent of votes in a state during a Lok Sabha or Assembly election. In addition, it also needs to win at least one Lok Sabha or two Legislative Assembly seats.
- If it wins at least eight percent votes in a state during the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly elections.
Benefits of being a recognised state party or national party
- If a party is recognised as a ‘State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State of States in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.
- The registered unrecognised political parties do not have the privilege of contesting elections on affixed symbol of their own. They have to choose from a list of ‘free symbols’ issued by the Commission.
- However, the candidates set up by a political party registered with the Election Commission of India will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates.
- Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
Why in News?
- The Election Commission said it would be initiating graded action against more than 2100 registered unrecognised political parties (RUPP) for flouting various rules, including failure to furnish a contribution report, changing their name, head office, office bearers and even address.
- The poll panel said 66 such parties had claimed income tax exemption in the financial year 2020 without complying with statutory requirements under the Representation of the People Act, while 2,174 have not submitted contribution reports.
- It said that action would be initiated against those receiving donations without statutory due compliances.
- The EC had last year flagged the presence of inactive, unrecognised political parties that have not contested any election and had asked the Law Ministry to give them the power to de-register them or allow them to act against them.
- There are 2,796 such political parties as of September 2021, which has increased by over 300 per cent since 2001.
- The Commission noted with “serious concern” that out of 2,796 unrecognised parties, many are neither taking part in the electoral process nor adhering to one or several of the requirements, which is not only violative of statutory requirements but also defeats the purpose of the clean electoral ecosystem.
- Political parties, to be registered, must contest an election within five years of its registration. They are also required to furnish their election expenditure statement within 75 days in case of Assembly elections, and within 90 days, in case of Lok Sabha elections.
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