Electoral Reforms In India

Vacant offices, unaware office-bearers: curious case of delisted parties


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Registration and de-registration of Political Parties, RP Act

Mains level : Read the attached story

The EC has been on a mission to clean up the list of registered unrecognized political parties, deleting 284 since May for either being untraceable during a physical check or not responding to communications.

Why de-list political parties?

  • The news highlights the tale of a Bharatiya xyz Party.
  • Its registered address, the ground floor of a Delhi Development Authority flat, has been home to a family since they purchased the house in 2008.

When is a party de-registered?

  • The EC’s recent order has highlighted that a party must contest an election within five years of its registration, and should continue to contest thereafter.
  • If the party does not contest elections continuously for six years, the party shall be taken off the list of registered parties.

Registering a Political Party

  • The registration of all political parties is governed by the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • According to the Election Commission (EC), any party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days.
  • This is done as per guidelines prescribed by the EC in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution and Section 29A of the RP Act, 1951.

Note: There is no procedure available for de-registration of dormant political parties.

Process of registration

  • The applicant is asked to publish a proposed party name in two national daily newspapers and two local daily newspapers, and provide two days for submitting objections, if any.
  • The notice for publication is also displayed on the website of the Election Commission.

Why registering with the EC is important?

  • It is not mandatory to register with the Election Commission.
  • However, registering as a political party with the EC has its advantage in terms of intending to avail itself of the provisions of the RP Act, 1951.
  • The candidates set up by a political party registered with the EC will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates.
  • More importantly, these registered political parties, over course of time, can get expanded recognition as a ‘state party’ or a ‘national party’.

How EC recognises a political party as a state or national party?

For recognition as a NATIONAL PARTY, the conditions specified are:

  1. a 6% vote share in the last Assembly polls in each of any four states, as well as four seats in the last Lok Sabha polls; or
  2. 2% of all Lok Sabha seats in the last such election, with MPs elected from at least three states; or
  3. recognition as a state party in at least four states.

For recognition as a STATE PARTY, any one of five conditions needs to be satisfied:

  1. two seats plus a 6% vote share in the last Assembly election in that state; or
  2. one seat plus a 6% vote share in the last Lok Sabha election from that state; or
  3. 3% of the total Assembly seats or 3 seats, whichever is more; or
  4. one of every 25 Lok Sabha seats (or an equivalent fraction) from a state; or
  5. an 8% state-wide vote share in either the last Lok Sabha or the last Assembly polls.

Benefits for recognized parties

  • This is subject to the fulfilment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

(a) Reserved Sybol

  • 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 in which it is so recognised.
  • 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.

(b) Proposer for nomination

  • Recognised ‘state’ and ‘national’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination.

(c) Campaigning benefits

  • They are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over state-owned Akashvani/Doordarshan during the general elections.

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