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Election Commission deletes 87 political parties from its list for bogus donation, tax fraud, violating norms etc, 2000+ others given time to comply

According to the ECI, among the 2796 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties, a large number are neither taking part in the electoral process nor adhering to the one or several of the requirements

In an action initiated for enforcement of the due compliance by the Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs), the Election Commission of India deleted 87 such parties. More than 2000 other such parties are listed for stricter actions. A press note regarding the same is published on Wednesday 25th May 2022.

In this press note, the ECI said, “The Commission has noted with serious concern that out of total 2796 RUPPs, a large number are neither taking part in the electoral process nor adhering to the one or several of the above requirements which are not only violative of statutory requirements but also defeat the purpose of the clean electoral ecosystem. In view of the foregoing, the Commission, in the discharge of its mandate of ensuring just, free, fair & transparent electoral process hereby directs corrective measures.”

In the first and the most important measure, the ECI said, “There are 87 RUPPs, whose address of communication, was statutorily required as registration requirement under section 29A(4). Any change in address was required to be communicated to the ECI under section 29A(9), to which they have not complied. These RUPPs have been found to be non-existent after a physical verification carried out by the respective Chief Electoral Officers. The names of such non-existent RUPPs shall be deleted from the list of registers of unrecognized registered political parties. 87 such RUPPs, in absence of ensuring remedial measures listed above, render themselves liable to be not entitled to have benefits under the Symbols Order, 1968, including allocation of a common symbol.”

The ECI press note further said, “Three RUPPs which have been reported, prima facie to be involved in serious financial impropriety such as incriminating documents related to bogus donation receipts, formation of shell entities, bogus and non-genuine purchases, facilitating accommodation entries, etc., shall be proceeded against under the extant legal/regulatory regime including entitlement to avail the benefits of Symbols Order, 1968.”

The ECI gave a clarification on its action against more RUPPs. It said next in the press note, “2056 RUPPs, which have failed to furnish Annual Audited Account of the concerned financial year, are indicative of gaps in vital financial information including bank account, PAN, authorized signatories pertaining to those RUPPs, statement of assets and liabilities, contributions received, details of donors, expenditure, etc. Therefore, CEOs shall put the list of such RUPPS on their respective websites and afford an opportunity for such RUPPs to comply with extant legal and regulatory regimes within 30 days. Non-compliance may make such RUPPs not entitled to have benefits under the Symbols Order, 1968, including allocation of a common symbol.”

About the parties failing to furnish the election expenditure, the ECI press note said, “100 RUPPs, which have failed to furnish Election Expenditure Statements after the contest of election(s), have violated the directions of Election Commission. They may approach the concerned Chief Electoral Officer with full facts within 30 days of the issue of this direction for remedial action, if any, to avoid any consequential action.”

All the Chief Electoral Officers are instructed to put this order on their websites for compliance and for affording an opportunity to anyone aggrieved by this action. It is notable that there are 2796 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPP) as of September 2021. This number is an increase of over 300% since 2001. The ECI has cited sections 29A and 29C of the Representation of People Act 1951.

The Political Party, [for being registered, as a condition precedent prescribed by ECI under its power under section 29 A (6)] needs to undertake to include in its constitution that it must contest an election conducted by the Election Commission within 5 years of its registration. Section 29A(9) mandates every political party to communicate any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, or PAN number to the Commission without delay. 

Section 29Cof RP Act 1951requires a RUPP to furnish a contribution report as prescribed in Form 24 A under Rule 85 B of Conduct of Election Rules 1961. Such contributions received by RUPPs are also 100%exempted from Income Tax as an incentive to the parties for strengthening the electoral democracyAlso, upon participation in an election, Political Parties are required to furnish their election expenditure statement within 75 days, in case of Assembly elections, and within 90 days, in case of Lok Sabha elections.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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