HC seeks EC response on plea for internal polls in political parties

A file photo of Delhi High Court.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Election Commission to respond to a petition seeking to formulate and notify a model procedure for intra-party elections and its incorporation in the constitutions of all political parties.

A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh asked the poll panel to submit its response before the next date of hearing on December 23.

The High Court’s order came on a petition filed by C. Rajashekaran, a lawyer himself and one of the founding members of Kamal Haasan’s political party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM).

Mr. Rajashekaran has urged the Election Commission to make it mandatory for all political parties who wish to register themselves under Section 29-A of the Representation of the People Act to conduct periodic, free and fair elections to the leadership positions of their respective parties.

He has also asked for the poll panel to de-register those which do not do so.

As per the Election Commission data, there are 2,598 registered parties with distinct symbols provided by it. “However, various political parties out of the registered ones do not mandatorily conduct intra-party elections, and as such, no steps have been taken by the Election Commission to address the same.”

The petition argued that a degree of accountability is required with respect to the money held by political parties through donations from various members, both in terms of expenditure in material and ideological terms. Free and fair elections will ensure it in its true meaning and spirit, it said.

The national political parties, recognised by the Election Commission, are required to file their audit reports with it. The petition produced the annual audit reports filed by the parties for the year ending March 31, 2019. As per the report, the BJP had an income of ₹2,410 crore and the Indian National Congress ₹918 crore.

Mr. Rajashekaran argued that accountability with respect to the political framework requires that the persons responsible for disbursal and usage of the funds are elected on a regular and timely basis.

The present model of accountability, in which a political party is held accountable only through parliamentary, legislative or panchayat elections, is inadequate as it does not account for the opacity with respect to the internal functioning of the parties, Mr. Rajashekaran said.


The income of the nationally recognised political parties for 2018-19

Political PartyTotal Income
Bharatiya Janata PartyRs. 24,10,08,36,178
Indian National CongressRs. 9,18,03,76,172
Communist Party of India (Marxist)Rs. 1,00,96,20,770
All India Trinamool CongressRs. 1,92,65,73,607
Bahujan Samaj PartyRs. 69,79,05,130
Nationalist Congress PartyRs. 507,138,340
Communist Party of IndiaRs. 71,504,314

Source: Mr Rajashekaran’s petition

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 12:33:45 AM |

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