From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Election Symbols Allotment
Mains level : Split in a Political Party
- A faction within a political party led by the Maharashtra Deputy CM has been officially recognized as the legitimate group by the Election Commission of India retaining its election symbol.
Election Symbol and its Significance
- Electoral Impact: Election symbols play a crucial role in shaping the electoral fortunes of political parties, influencing voter perception and identification.
- Transparency Concerns: The current system of symbol allotment warrants review to ensure transparency and fairness in the electoral process.
EC’s Powers in Symbol Disputes
- Legal Framework: Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, empowers the ECI to adjudicate disputes arising from splits within political parties.
- Test of Majority: The ECI conducts a test of majority, considering all available facts and circumstances, to determine the legitimate faction.
- Binding Decision: The decision of the ECI is binding on all rival sections or groups emerged after the split, applicable to recognized national and state parties.
- Pre-1968 Era: Before the Symbols Order, 1968, the ECI addressed disputes through notifications and executive orders under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
- High-profile Cases: Notable cases include the split of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in 1964 and the first split in the Indian National Congress in 1969.
Options for Resolution
- Symbol Freeze: The ECI may freeze the symbol to prevent either faction from using it until a final decision is reached, a process that typically involves lengthy hearings.
- Legal Proceedings: Parties may resort to legal recourse if internal resolution or EC intervention fails to resolve the dispute.
Alternate Resolution Mechanisms
- Majority Test: EC primarily relies on testing the support within the party organization, particularly among elected MPs and MLAs, to determine faction legitimacy.
- Registration as Separate Party: Splinter groups not recognized by the parent party may register themselves as separate entities and seek national or state party status based on electoral performance post-registration.
- The recognition of political factions by the Election Commission underscores the complexities of symbol allotment and intra-party disputes.
- As the EC navigates these challenges, ensuring procedural fairness and upholding democratic principles remain paramount in fostering trust and integrity in the electoral process.