Sunday, 21 June 2015

Recognition of Political Parties

Why in news?
Election Commission suspended the recognition of National People's Party, floated by former Speaker P A Sangma in 2013, as a state party in Meghalaya for failing to file its election expenditure statement for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Under what rules did EC suspend recognition?


This is the first time that the poll panel has exercised its powers under Para 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to suspend the recognition of a party for failing to furnish its poll expenditure statement within the stipulated :
  • 90 days for Lok Sabha polls or 
  • 75 days for an assembly election
This is a temporary action short of withdrawal of recognition.

The EC had, in pursuance of a Supreme Court order in the case of Common Cause vs Union of India and others, earlier issued instructions to all parties to file their expenditure statements within the stipulated time.

What is the impact of suspension of recognition on political parties?
Political party is restrained from fighting polls on its reserved symbol.

How is a Political party recognised?
As per conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, amended from time to time.

Criteria:
1. A political party shall be treated as a recognised political party in a State, if and only if either the conditions specified in Clause (A) are, OR the condition specified in Clause (B) is, fulfilled by that party-

(A) that such party –
  • has been engaged in political activity for a continuous period of 5 years; and
  • has, at the last general election in that State to the House of the People, or, as the case may be, to the Legislative Assembly of the State, returned either 
    • (i) at least 1 member to the LS for every 25 members of that House or any fraction of that number from that State;  ---> [ 1/25 ]
    • OR (ii) at least 1 member to the SLA for every 30 members of that Assembly or any fraction of that number; ---> [ 1/30 ]
(B) that the total number of valid votes polled by all the contesting candidates set up by such party at the last general election in the State to the House of the People, or as the case may be, to the Legislative Assembly of the State, is not less than 6% of the total number of valid votes polled by all the contesting candidates at such general election in the State.


2. The conditions in Clause (A) or Clause (B) above shall not be deemed to have been fulfilled by a political party, if a member of the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State becomes a member of that political party after his election to that House or, as the case may be, that Assembly.

3. 'State’ includes the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry.

4. NATIONAL PARTY
  • If a political party is treated as a recognised political party in four or more States, it shall be known as a `National Party’ throughout the whole of India, but only so long as that political party continues to fulfill thereafter the conditions for recognition in four or more States on the results of any subsequent general election either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of any State.


5. STATE PARTY
  • If a political party is treated as a recognised political party in less than four States, it should be known as a `State Party’ in the State or States in which it is so recognised, but only so long as that political party continues to fulfill thereafter the conditions for recognition on the results of any subsequent general election to the House of the People or, as the case may be, to the Legislative Assembly of the State, in the said State or States.

Advantages of recognition:
  • If a party is recognised as a 'State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised.
  • If a party is recognised as a 'National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India. 
  • Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only 1 proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for 2 sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
[Source: Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, EIC Website]

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