New Delhi: The Election Commission declared 253 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPP) inactive – barring them from availing the Symbols Order, 1968.
86 more Existing Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPP) were removed from the list and benefits withdrawn under the Symbol Order (1968)
With action taken against these 339 (86+253) Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) for non-compliance, the number of such RUPPs in default has increased to 537 with effect from May 25, 2022.
In continuation of the earlier action initiated on May 25, 2022 to compel the Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) to comply, the Election Commission of India under the leadership of Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner, Anup Chandra Pandey and 86 registered non-existent Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) have been removed from the list and declared an additional 253 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) as ‘dormant RUPPs’. The action taken against these 339 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) for non-compliance has increased the number of such RUPPs in default to 537 with effect from May 25, 2022.
As per the statutory requirements under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, every political party has to inform the Commission about any change in its name, head office, office bearers, address, PAN without any delay. 86 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) either after physical verification done by the respective Chief Electoral Officers of the respective States/UTs or by postal authority to the registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) at the registered address. The notices have been found to be non-existent on the basis of the report. It is to be reminded that the Election Commission of India vide order dated 25th May, 2022 and 20th June, 2022 had delisted 87 RUPPs and 111 RUPPs respectively, taking the total number of RUPPs removed from the list to 284.
The decision against 253 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) for non-compliance has been taken on the basis of reports received from Chief Electoral Officers of seven states namely Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. These 253 RUPPs have been declared inactive as they have not responded to the letters/notices delivered to them and neither contested in the general election of the State nor in a single election to the Parliament in the year 2014 and 2019. These registered unrecognized political parties have failed to comply with the statutory requirements in respect of more than 16 compliance steps since the year 2015 and this lapse of all of them continues.
It is also noted that out of the above 253 parties, 66 Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) had actually applied for a common symbol as per Para 10B of the Symbols Order 1968 and did not contest the respective elections. It is pertinent to note that in respect of the said Legislative Assembly election of a State, RUPP is given the privilege of a common symbol on the basis of an undertaking to have at least 5 percent of the total candidates. Possibility of availing permissible entitlements and pre-election political facilities (exemptions) by such parties without contesting elections cannot be ruled out. It also actually increases the crowd of the political parties contesting elections and also creates confusion for the voters.
The Commission notes that the primary object of registration of political parties is contained in section 29A, which enlists the privileges and benefits accruing to an association after it is registered as a political party and all such benefits and The privileges are directly related to the said participant in the election process. Accordingly, the 13(ii)(e) Guidelines for Registration of Political Parties issued by the Commission for the condition of registration have the following explanation:
“Declared that the party should contest the election organized by the Election Commission within five years of its registration and thereafter continue to contest the election. will be removed).
The Commission is aware that compliance with the terms of constitution (year), which is a combination of mandated and self-approved provisions, is an essential condition for maintaining financial discipline, propriety, public accountability, transparency. Compliances serve as the building blocks of a transparent mechanism to inform voters about the affairs of political parties required to make informed choices. In the absence of requisite compliance, voters and the Election Commission are left in the dark. Further, all these mentioned regulatory requirements have a direct bearing on the Constitutional mandate of the Commission to conduct free, fair and transparent elections.
Keeping the above facts in view, the purity of electoral democracy as well as the wider public interest requires immediate corrective measures. Therefore, while discharging its mandate of ensuring a free, fair and transparent election process, the Commission directs that:
- i) List of registers of 86 non-existent RUPPs, RUPPs and shall be himself liable for not being entitled to benefits under the Symbols Order, 1968.
- ii) In the Register of RUPPs maintained by the Commission under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, 253 RUPPs have been marked as ‘Passive RUPPs’.
iii) These 253 RUPPs will not be eligible for any benefit under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
- iv) Any party aggrieved may, within 30 days from the date of issue of this direction, obtain annual audited accounts from the concerned Chief Electoral Officer/Election Commission with all evidence of existence, other legal and regulatory compliances, year wise (for all years of default). , Contribution Reports, Expenditure Reports, Financial Transactions (including Bank Accounts) along with the updated details of the functionaries including the authorized signatories.
- v) 66 RUPPs out of these 253 RUPPS, which had demanded a common symbol under para 10B in various elections, but did not field any candidate for the respective general elections, were to be declared (except point iii above), It would also be necessary to explain why “further action as mandated in Para 10B of the Symbol Order to make them liable for such punitive action as the Commission may deem fit” should not be taken.