Election Commission seeks power to withdraw registration of political parties

The law provides the poll panel power to register an association of people as a political party, but does not give it the authority to de-register

Election Commission, four Gujarat losing candidates go to Gujarat HC
The losing Congress candidates have made the Election Commission and Returning Officer a party to their respective petitions | File Photo

The Election Commission (EC) has made a renewed push to get powers to de-register political parties. The law provides the poll panel power to register an association of people as a political party, but does not give it the authority to de-register.

At a recent interaction with the Union legislative secretary, chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar is learnt to have pushed for the power to withdraw registration of political parties. The poll panel had been writing to the government to grant it power under the Representation of the People Act to de-register a political party on certain grounds, a News18 report says.

‘Put adequate safeguards’

The poll panel believes that many political parties get registered, but never contest election. The possibility of forming political parties with an eye on availing the benefit of income-tax exemption also cannot be ruled out, the EC feels.


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A senior official said adequate safeguards can be put in place while giving EC this authority. Under the constitution, the EC is required to function independently and ensure free and fair elections. An enquiry into non-compliance with the conditions for the grant of registration might involve the Commission in matters of a political nature and could mean monitoring by the Commission of political activities, programmes and ideologies of political parties. This, the EC feels, is perhaps the reason why it has not been given power to cancel the registration of a political party.

Cleaning exercise

The poll body had recently deleted from its registers a total of 198 registered unrecognised political parties as they were found to be non-existent during a verification exercise. In a recent statement, the poll panel had said that a reference has also been sent to the Department of Revenue for necessary legal and criminal actions against three such parties involved in serious financial impropriety. Another list of 66 parties which have claimed income-tax exemption without submitting contribution reports as mandated under law has also been shared with the Revenue Department.

There are nearly 2,800 registered unrecognised political parties in India. Eight parties are recognised as national parties and over 50 are recognised as state parties.