India

Govt opposes plea to ban registration of political party with convicted office-bearer

 A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi

The government has opposed a plea to ban the registration of a political party with the Election Commission of India (ECI) if an office-bearer of the party is a convicted person, barred from contesting elections.

The government was responding to a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in the Supreme Court to empower the Election Commission of India with the authority to de-register or cancel the registration of a political party under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 if office-holders of the party are found to be convicted criminals and banned from contesting elections. The petition said the step was necessary to de-criminalise politics.

“Appointment of a post-holder to a political party is a matter of autonomy,” the Centre responded in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court.

The government said it may not be apt to prevent the EC from registering a political party “merely because a particular post-holder is not qualified to contest elections”.

Citing the Supreme Court's own judgment in 2002, the government argued that “antecedents of a post-holder” is not a ground to de-register or cancel the registration of a political party under Section 29A.

The government said there was no “connectivity and nexus” between debarring convicted politicians from contesting elections and banning them from forming a political party or holding office in a party.

If the petitioner is seeking an amendment in the 1951 Act, the Supreme Court cannot command the legislature to change the law, the government said.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2022 4:46:26 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-opposes-plea-to-ban-registration-of-political-party-with-convicted-office-bearer/article23313962.ece