Discuss the powers of Election Commission of India with respect to registration, delisting and deregistration of political parties. Do you agree with the view that the recent amendment of FCRA underlines need for more teeth to the Election Commission? Justify your answer.

Published: December 28, 2016

Election commission is the watchdog of electoral system in the country.It supervise the election right from announcement of polling date to the declaration of the result.It ensure free and fair election in country.
The power of election  commission regarding de-registration has come to limelight with its recent decision to delist political parties. Representative of people act 1951 has following provision with respect to registration,delisting and de-registration:
Registration

  • Under section 29 of RPA act 1951 it is mandatory for a political party to get registered with Election commission of India.
  • Section 29A(5) insist that such application for registration shall be accompanied by memorandum which shall contain a provision that the association bear true faith and allegiance to constitution of India and to the principles of socialism,secularism and democracy.

De-registration

  • There is no explicit provision in RPA act 1951 for de-registration of political party registered under section 29 A.
  • But Kerala high court in case of Institute of social welfare versus state of Kerala has held that Election commission can de-register a political party when it act against the the section 29A(5) of RPA 1951.

Delisting
Election commission can delist a party under article 324 of constitution of India with respect to its superintendence power .
Funding in election and recent FCRA amendment:
The Big Money, used in non-transparent manner, may be money or tainted money which

  • undermines the rule of Law, and
  • the elected representatives become captive in the hands of those, who provide such funds.
  • Hence it is needless to say that high cost of election and corruption go hand in hand
  • It disturbs the level playing field, as all candidates or parties do not have equal access to such fund.

Till recently there was a ban of foreign funding to political party but through an amendment in FCRA act it legalised the funding from foreign company which has Indian source.
The election commission ha taken several step to counter the menace of unaccounted funding but due to its lack of strict enforcement rule has made it weak to take action against political party who flout election rules.To realise the goal of participatory democracy it need to be strengthened up so that unregulated fund can be regulated . Various committees in the past such as Goswami and Indrajeet committee has recommended state funding which require strengthening of power of election commission.

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