The Election Commission of India (ECI) recently delisted 111 more registered unrecognised political parties (RUPPs). These parties were discovered to be non-existent upon verification of their registered addresses.
Furthermore, the ECI referred three parties allegedly involved in financial impropriety to the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, for necessary legal and criminal action.
Registration of political parties in India –
- Article 324 of the Indian Constitution grants the ECI the authority to register political parties. The registration of all political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- According to the ECI, any party seeking registration must file an application (to the Secretary to the ECI) within 30 days of its formation.
- According to current guidelines —
- the applicant is required 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, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within 30 days from the publication.
- The notice for publication is also available on the ECI’s website.
Deregistration of political parties –
- While the ECI has the power to register political parties under the RPA, 1951, it does not have the power to deregister parties that are inactive.
- The ECI can only delist the inactive parties and refer the matter to the Central Government for further action.
What are ‘unrecognised political parties’?
Either newly registered parties or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party or those which have never contested in elections since being registered are considered unrecognised parties. Such parties don’t enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties.
Criteria for national parties –
A registered party is recognised as a national party only if it fulfils any one of the three conditions listed below —
- A party should win 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states.
- At a general election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party polls 6% of votes in any four or more states and in addition, it wins four Lok Sabha seats. A party gets recognition as a state party in four states.
Criteria for state parties –
A party has to fulfil any of the following conditions for recognition as a state party —
- A party should secure at least 6% of valid votes polled in an election to the state legislative assembly and win at least 2 seats in that state assembly.
- A party should secure at least 6% of valid votes polled in an election to Lok Sabha and win at least 1 seat in Lok Sabha.
- A party should win a minimum of three per cent of the total number of seats or a minimum of three seats in the Legislative Assembly, whichever is higher.
- If it wins 1 seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to the state at a general election to the Lok Sabha from the state concerned.
- If it secures 8% of the total valid votes polled in the state at a General Election to the Lok Sabha from the state or to the legislative assembly of the state. This condition was added in 2011.