Election Commission to push for internal democracy within parties

EC does not have the power to deregister parties that fail to comply with the rules

September 26, 2022 04:22 am | Updated 09:01 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A View of the Logo of the Election Commission of India at the Nirvachan Sadan (ECI Headquarters) in New Delhi. File

A View of the Logo of the Election Commission of India at the Nirvachan Sadan (ECI Headquarters) in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

After taking action against registered unrecognised political parties (RUPPs) for failing to comply with norms over the past few months, the Election Commission is likely to take up the issue of internal democracy within parties next, according to EC sources.

The EC, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey, has been on a drive to de-list RUPPs since May for not informing the EC of the change in address, PAN, office-bearers and other details, which are mandated by the Representation of the People Act, 1951. After that, the EC decided to take on recognised parties for not complying with the provisions as well, a top EC official said.

Now, the official said the matter of internal democracy within parties would be taken up. Though the RP Act does not mandate internal elections, the EC’s guidelines for parties applying for registration under the Act state that the applicant should submit a copy of the party constitution. “There should be a specific provision in the Constitution/rules and regulations/memorandum of the party regarding organisational elections at different levels and the periodicity of such elections and terms of office of the office-bearers of the party (sic),” the EC guidelines say.

The official said the EC would nudge parties to follow the internal democracy commitments, however the EC does not have the power to deregister parties that fail to comply with the rules. The commission has asked the Law Ministry for the power to deregister political parties in the past, but the proposal has not been implemented so far.

Recently, the EC had come out against reports that the YSRCP had in July elected party president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to the post for life. In an order on September 21, it said that it rejected any attempt or hint that any party post was permanent as it was “inherently anti-democracy”. The commission ordered YSRCP to make a clear public statement denying the reports to clear up any confusion. If not denied, the EC said it could “assume contagious proportions”.

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