HOW TO REGISTER A POLITICAL PARTY IN INDIA?
Published by: Aayushi Devpura
A political party is a group of individual who share identical political views, come together to
contest elections and attempt to hold power in the government. Political party registration is
regulated by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. India currently has over 1600 registered political party in which over the past five years 400 of them have been established. A party seeking registration under the said section with the Election Commission of India shall, in the practice of powers granted by Article 324 of the Constitution of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 send an application to the commission within 30 days of the date of its creation in prescribed format with certain documents in accordance with the rules of the Election Commission of India.
ELIGIBLITY CRITERIA FOR POLITICAL PARTY REGISTRATION
Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides certain conditions for the formation and registration of a political party by the Election Commission of India (ECI):
It must include only Indian citizens.
Each member must have a voting card, which clearly indicates that individual is above the age of 18.
It must call itself a political party set up for the purpose of contesting elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures and not for any other purpose.
It must have at least 100 registered voters as its members.
APPLICATION PROCESS FOR REGISTRATION AS POLITICAL PARTY
An application for political party registration should be submitted to the Secretary to the Election Commission of India, Nirvachan Sadan, Ashok Road, New Delhi- 110001 within 30 days of party formation. The commission already has a prescribed Performa; the commission’s website also contains appropriate rules. Each application must be printed smoothly on the letter head of the party and sent either by registered post or personally submitted. Usually, the Election Commission will take bout 4 months to process the request of the new political entities.
In TN Seshan v Union of India and Ors,1 the Supreme Court observed that the responsibility for free and fair elections in the nation should be entrusted to an independent body isolated from political and/or executive intervention. It is intrinsic in a democratic establishment that the organization entrusted with the responsibility of holding elections to the legislatures should be fully isolated so that it can operate as an independent agency free from outside pressure from the party in authority or the day’s executive. This goal is accomplished through the establishment, under Art 324(1) of the Constitution, of an Election Commission, a permanent body.
DOCUMENTS TO BE PROVIDED DURING REGISTRATION
The registration request should be followed by the following documents:
1. An Rs 10,000 demand draft for Under Secretary, Election Commission of India. This is a
non-refundable processing charge.
2. A copy of party’s laws and regulations/constitution neatly printed. The document must
include clause on “organizational elections at different levels and the periodicity of such
elections and terms of office of the office-bearers of the party.” It must also state the
procedure to be followed in the event of merger and dissolution.
3. A copy of the constitution of the party, authenticated by the party's Secretary General /
President / Chairman. It should bear the signatory's seal as well.
4. An affidavit stating that no party member has an affiliation with any other party register
ed with the Election Commission.
5. Individual affidavits are also required as a statement that party members are registered e
lectors and not any other party members.
6. Extracts from the recent rolls of at least 100 party members as proof of being registered
7. Bank account details and Permanent Account Number (if any) in the party's name.
8. In addition, each party's office bearer must provide information of the assets and invest
ments made by them and their spouse and children.
The commission enables the public, if any, to raise the objections against the political party within 30 days of the request of political party registration being submitted. The political party’s representative or applicant must issue a newspaper notification and declare their intention to form a fresh party.
If no objection is raised, the committee will verify the records presented by the party after the end of the 30- day calendar. The party officials can monitor the gate within 4 or 5 months to obtain confirmation of the political party registration. Once the party has been parked with the committee for political party registration, than selecting the election signs from the once available with the election commission becomes mandatory for the party leaders. If the members are not happy with the symbol and that doesn’t fit their choice then the member can pick a symbol on their own or submit a sketch for approval to the commission.
RULES TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE POLITICAL PARTY
The party’s name should not include any religion or caste.
The party's goal should be in line with India's constitution.
Party membership should be accessible to all adults; no one should be discriminated against on grounds of faith, caste or sexuality.
The authority or function of the party or the decision-making power should represent the spirit of democracy- there should be no veto power.
Not more than one-third of the members can be nominated for more than 5 years of the period.
Periodic elections within 5 years maximum.
Party funds to be used solely for political operations in which monthly accounts should be maintained.
Auditors on the CAG panel should audit the accounts annually and submit them to the ECI within 6 months of the end of the financial year.
CRITERIA FOR RECOGNITION AS A STATE OR A NATIONAL PARTY
Only if a registered group fulfills any of the following three circumstances is identified as a
1. A party from at least three distinct states wins 2 percent of seats in the Lok sabha.
2. The party receives 6 percent of the votes in any four or more states at a general election
to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, and it also wins four Lok Sabha seats.
3. A party gets recognition as a state party in four states.
A party must meet any of the following conditions for recognition as a state party:
1. A party in the Legislative Assembly should win at least three percent of the complete a
mount of seats or at least three seats.
2. A party should win at least one seat per 25 seats in the Lok Sabha or any fraction of that
seat allocated to that State.
3. A party should secure at least six percent of the total valid votes polled during general
election to a Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly and should, in addition, win at least
one Lok Sabha, and two Legislative Assembly seats in that election.
4. Under the liberalized criteria, another clause is that if it secures 8 percent or more of the
total valid votes surveyed in the state, in relation to one seat in any state, it will be eligi
ble for acceptance as a state party.
CAN A POLITICAL PARTY BE DE-REGSTERED?
The ECI is not permitted to de-register parties on the basis of infringement of the Constitution or infringement of the undertakings at the moment of registration. A party can only be de-registered if its registration has been acquired through fraud, if it is declared illegal by the central government or if a group amends its inner constitution and notifies the ECI that it can no longer comply with the Indian Constitution.
Political parties play a very important role throughout the globe where there is a democratic way of governing the individuals. But a political party's most significant thing is that it should embra ce only constitutional means and techniques to achieve its goals.It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to register political parties in India. It recognizes political parties as National or State political parties based on their election results.
1 (1995) 4 SCC 611