Political Party Registration in India- An Overview
Political Party Registration in India is an important step in order to run a political party. The main body governing the registering political parties in India is the Election Commission of India (ECI). This body is formed as an independent autonomous body that regulates the process of election in India. Apart from this, the body oversees the political party registration process in India.
The Election Commission of India was set up with the primary motive to administer all forms of political bodies. The major political bodies include the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and different form of state legislative assemblies in India. Apart from this the offices of the president and vice president are also governed by the ECI.
Statutory Meaning of Political Party Registration
In order to comply with the rules of India , all political parties have to register as per the requirements of a particular law in the country. Any form of association or body requires registering under the respective law to secure some form of recognition.
The body of individuals that represent a political party has to make an application to the Election Commission of India (ECI). Under section 29A (4) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 such requirement for registration of a political party in India have to be satisfied.
The application has to be made as per the requirements of Format prescribed under Annexure –I of the Act. Any form of additional information has to be provided as per the rules of the Registration of Political Parties (Furnishing of Additional Particulars) Order, 1992.
If a particular association or a party requires making an application, then the same has to be made under the party’s respective letter head. Such application has to be typed neatly on the letter head of the respective party. After this process is carried out, the application must be sent through registered post or personally provided to the Secretary of Election Commission. Such requirements have to be carried out within 30 days of forming the political party in India.
Any application which is made after the prescribed period is considered to be time barred. This means that if an application is made after 30 days of forming the political party, then such application may not be allowed as the time period is expired. This provision is present under section 29A(2)(b) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.
Benefits of Political Party Registration
Any party which registers themselves under the requirements of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 would have the following benefits:
Compliance with Law
As per the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 all political parties which are formed have to comply with the requirement of registering. Any political party which is formed in India has to register within 30 days of formation.
Political parties that are registered under the Election Commission of India (ECI) are recognised in the eyes of the public. More recognition would flow as a result of registering with the ECI. Public are more likely to vote for political parties which are registered as per the requirement of the government.
Not barred by Time
A party that complies with the requirement of registration under the Act would not be barred by time. Hence the party can operate without any problems related to compliance and time.
Political parties that are registered in accordance with law have more form of support from the government. Different types of government incentives would also be available to such parties.
Eligibility Criteria for Political Party Registration
The following eligibility criterion has to be satisfied for political party registration in India:
For political party registration in India, the party has to have minimum of 100 members. This is one of the minimum requirements for political party registration. All the members including the representatives are considered as members for the purpose of political party registration in India.
All the members of the party must have their respective election ID. Hence all the members must have a valid election ID or election card which is issued by the Election Commission of India.
Compliance with the Act
The requirements under the Representatives of People Act, 1951 must be sufficed by the members. Apart from this all members including the Chief executive of the party must comply with the requirements of the law in force.
Affidavit Signed by President and Sworn before Magistrate
Along with the documents submitted to the Election Commission of India, an affidavit must be made and signed by the President. Such affidavit must be sworn before a specific district magistrate or a magistrate of first class.
Details of Assets and Liabilities Present
The political party also has to provide details of all the assets and liabilities owned by the party. The assets and liabilities can be anything from a particular piece of land owned by one party to the amount of money held under the bank of the party. Such details must be submitted in a separate annexure along with the application.
Criminal Background Checks
The party must also submit information on any crimes or malpractices carried out. For example all the members would be vetted for respective criminal convictions. Any criminal conviction can delay the process of securing a political party registration.
What should the name of the political party comply with?
In accordance with the requirements of section 29A of the Representatives of Peoples Act, 1951 the name of the party must not be against any rules in force in India.
Names of political parties in India must not have any connection with any religion or religious establishment. Apart from this, the name of the political party must not use any existing political party. Such instances may lead to confusion in the public.
Translation of Existing names also is not allowed under the Act. Translation causes issues to present parties. Any party that considers using some form of translated name either in English or Hindi would be disqualified from the process of registration under the act. This would go against the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951.
Procedure for Political Party Registration
The following procedure has to be considered for political party registration process in India:
Provide Particulars related to Annexure I and Annexure II
The applicant has to first provide the information as requested under Annexure-I regarding the registration process of a political party in India. After this Annexure-II details must be provided by the application. All the information should be drafted neatly as required by the Election Commission of India. The checklist must be provided by the applicant to the ECI to cross verify the requirements for political party registration.
Provide the Information as per the application
The application must be drafted or neatly typed. This application must contain the rules and bye-laws which are followed by the party. Such rules and bye laws can be compared to the constitution of the party. All these provisions have to be according to section 29(A)(5) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. The following has to be considered:
- Under such requirements the party has to provide an oath regarding the party’s allegiance to the Constitution of India. The rule of law has to be abided by the party and the principles pertaining to secularism, socialism and democracy have to be followed by the party. All the principles related to the preamble of the constitution have to be followed by the political party in India. Such principles must be indicated in the party’s constition.
- Under section 29A(7) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 no political party registration can occur without having the above principles in the constitution of the party.
- Rules related to internal democracy, internal elections, structures and roles and responsibilities of the parties must also be present in the application. This would also include the roles and responsibilities of the office-bearers of the party.
- The bye-laws should also contain details of any form of merger or dissolution of the party. Apart from this, if there is any form of disciplinary action taken against the members of the party, then such information must also be provided in the constitution. When it comes to membership, then clear and specific information must be provided regarding the same.
- Extracts of Information related to the electoral rolls off the 100 members must be provided. This must show that the members are maintaining their respective registers for election process. All the Elector Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) must be attested by a specific notary or a gazetted officer.
- Apart from this an affidavit must be signed by the president and sworn before the Magistrate, that no member of the political party is a member of the commission. Such requirements are important for political party registration.
- Other requirements for political party registration would be, individual affidavits from the members of the party. Such members have to swear that they are not members of any other political party registered in India. Such requirements have to be fulfilled for political party registration. Such affidavit must be made on a Rs. 2/- stamp paper which are sworn before a respective magistrate of first class.
- The application must also contain the list off office bearers and their respective duties carried out. All certified copies of the electoral rolls and the EPICs must be present with the application.
- Information on Pan, Bank Account and Aadhaar Number should also be provided.
- No –Objection Certificate (NOC) must be provided by the applicant where the registered office of business for the political party registration process.
- The party must ensure that audited financial statements have been submitted as required. Such statements must be submitted within a period of 60 days after each financial year end.
- There has to be a specific clause related to non-violence or not causing any disturbance by the political party. This is a mandatory requirement for political party registration.
- Periodic and Regular Elections must be held within the internal elections for office bearers.
- Any amendment in the constitution of the party must be after consent is taken from the General Body of the Party.
- The party must take part or contest in an election which is conducted by the ECI within 5 years of registration.
- All information has to be provided by the applicant for political party registration. Such information provided must meet the criterion as per the checklist under Annexure-II. If such information does not satisfy the requirements, then such application would not be considered for political party registration.
The fees must be paid in the form of processing the application. A demand draft of Rs. 10,000/- must be provided in the favour of ‘The Under Secretary , Election Commission of India, New Delhi’. Such fee is only used for processing. The fee is not refundable.
Submit the Application
After the application for political party registration is submitted, within 2 weeks the party would be notified with further steps to be carried out. Tracking the application is possible. For this the applicant has to provide the registered email along with mobile number. If this information is not provided the facility of tracking would not be available to the party.
Documents for Political Party Registration
The following documents have to be submitted for political party registration:
- Article 1- Name of the Party and all information ( The religion of the party along with information related to cast must also be provided).
- Article 2- Objectives of the Party- All information must be as per the requirements of Constitution of India.
- Article 3- Membership to the party. Details regarding the same must be provided for political party registration.
- Article 4- Organisational Structure and Functions of the Party. This must include the modes and methods of appointment of parties.
- Article 5- Office bearers appointment and their respective duties
- Article 6- Rules related to disputes and grievance handling.
- Article 7- Rules related to conduct of business by the party.
- Article 8- Funds and Accounts Maintained by the parties.
- Article 9-Constititon Amendment Procedure of the Party.
- Article 10- Procedure for Merger, Split or Dissolution of the party.
- Article 11- All other annexure, affidavits and information as required under the act.