Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Election Commission removes 111 ‘non-existent’ parties from registered political outfits list

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According to an EC statement, the Election Commission of India has ordered the deletion of 111 registered unrecognised political parties that it determined to be “non-existent,” and has sent three of the parties to the Department of Revenue for judicial action for “serious financial impropriety.”

This was the second such action in the recent past against registered parties that have been found violating the Representation of the People Act, 1951. On May 25, the EC had deleted 87 non-existent registered unrecognised political parties. In a press statement issued today, it read, “The Election Commission of India issued an order dated May 25, 2022, to nudge the Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs) for ensuring due compliances after Commission’s meeting held under the Chairmanship of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey. In the said order, Chief Electoral Officers were directed to initiate action for enforcing due compliances by RUPPs for relevant sections 29A and 29C of the RP Act 1951.”

In the second phase of the present operation, the Commission decided on Monday to delete 111 further RUPPs from the register as a follow-up to the decision on May 25, 2022, to delete the 87 non-existent RUPPs.

These 111 RUPPs’ communication address was statutorily needed as a registration requirement under section 29A(4); any change in address was had to be informed to the ECI under section 29A(9), which they did not comply with.

CEOs have complained that these RUPPs were either non-existent upon verification or that the letters sent by them in accordance with the Commission’s directive of May 25, 2022 were returned undelivered by the postal service.

The Commission also decided that any party who is dissatisfied with this decision may file a complaint with the concerned Chief Electoral Officer/ Election Commission within 30 days of the order’s issuance, along with all evidence of existence, other legal and regulatory compliances, including year-by-year audited accounts, contribution report, expenditure report, and updating of office bearers, including authorised signatories for financial transactions (including bank account).

A separate list of such RUPPs will be forwarded to the respective Chief Election Officers (CEOs) and the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) for action within the existing legislative framework.

In addition, a referral was submitted to the Department of Revenue for the required legal and criminal proceedings against three RUPPs implicated in significant financial wrongdoing. A list of 1897, 2202, and 2351 RUPPs for non-submission of Contribution Reports in FY 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, respectively, has also been supplied in order to take all appropriate action under the RP Act 1951 and the IT Act 1961.

A list of 66 RUPPs that claimed income tax exemption without filing contribution reports, as required by Section 29C of the Act, was also submitted with the Revenue Department. This activity, which began on May 25, 2022, will be carried out indefinitely and systematically.

In addition, a referral was submitted to the Department of Revenue for the required legal and criminal proceedings against three RUPPs implicated in significant financial wrongdoing. A list of 1897, 2202, and 2351 RUPPs for non-submission of Contribution Reports in FY 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, respectively, has also been supplied in order to take all appropriate action under the RP Act 1951 and the IT Act 1961.

A list of 66 RUPPs that claimed income tax exemption without filing contribution reports, as required by Section 29C of the Act, was also submitted with the Revenue Department. This activity, which began on May 25, 2022, will be carried out indefinitely and systematically.

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