Unrecognised political parties under ECI scanner | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Unrecognised political parties under ECI scanner

ByDeeksha Bhardwaj and Snehashish Roy, New Delhi
May 26, 2022 12:52 AM IST

The Election Commission of India has initiated action against 2,100 such parties to maintain financial discipline, public accountability and propriety

In a crackdown against registered unrecognised political parties (RUPPs), the Election Commission of India (ECI) has initiated action against 2,100 such parties to maintain financial discipline, public accountability and propriety. The development comes barely a week after new chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar took charge.

The development comes barely a week after new chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar took charge. (Archive)
The development comes barely a week after new chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar took charge. (Archive)

While the Election Commission does not have the power to deregister a political party, a reform still pending approval from the government, it can take up the issue of financial irregularities and seek mandatory compliance from the parties, which includes sources and manner of donations, disclosures by companies, details of bank account and expenditure statements.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

“The commission has evidence of serious financial impropriety, wilful attempts for tax evasion and other illegal financial activities against three specific RUPPs amounting to fraudulent use of privileges and public trust available to them,” a statement from the EC said. Criminal action has been initiated against these parties, as they provided false donation receipts, formed shell entities, involving in bogus and inaccurate purchases among others, the statement read.

“A political party can’t take 600 crore and claim tax exemption,” am official familiar with the matter said, adding, “the party can’t take black money, claim exemption and not file returns.”

ECI said there are a total of 2,796 RUPPs as of September 2021, an increase of 300% from 694 RUPPs in 2001. Directions were made to furnish contribution certificates by submitting Form 24 A of Conduct of Election Rules 1961 for 100% income tax exemptions. It further asked RUPPs to inform the body of any change in the parties’ name, head office, office bearers, address and PAN details. The commission further directed the political parties to furnish the audited annual statements along with the ‘return of income for each assessment year to be eligible for exemption from income tax’.

The ECI statement added that there are 87 RUPPs, whose address of communication was changed, which was statutorily required as registration requirement under Section 29A(4) and changes in which had to be communicated to the ECI under Section 29A(9) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. These have been found to be non-compliant.

“These RUPPs have been found to be non-existent after a physical verification carried out by the respective chief electoral officers… In absence of ensuring remedial measures listed above, render themselves liable to be not entitled to have benefits under the Symbols Order, 1968, including allocation of common symbol,” the statement says.

According to Section 29 C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, RUPPs are required to furnish contribution reports prescribed in Form 24 A under Rule 85 B of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. ECI’s transparency guidelines mandate political parties to furnish audited annual statements.

The commission further directed the political parties to participate in the electoral processes within five years of its registration followed by ‘furnishing their election expenditure statement within 75 days, in case of assembly elections, and within 90 days, in case of Lok Sabha elections’. It added that 199 RUPPs availed income tax exemptions amounting to 445 crore in 2018-19 and 219 RUPPs amounting to 609 crore in 2019-20. “As many as 66 RUPPs (of these political parties) have claimed income tax exemption without submitting contribution reports,” said the statement.

Along with that, 2,174 RUPPs have not submitted contribution reports, 2,056 have not furnished annual audited accounts and 100 of them have failed to provide election expenditure statements.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections News, Lok Sabha Election 2024 Live, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 27, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On