The party’s over

Source: The post is based on an article “The party’s over published in The Business Standard on 15th September 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 –  Indian Polity – Electoral Reforms

News: The Election Commission (EC) has recently moved to delist 86 unrecognized political parties and declare 253 inactive.

This step is appreciated as it will alert future parities before registering just for some gains.

Why is the importance of this step taken by EC?

First, many of these parties are suspected to have been set up to round-trip black money. Therefore, their removal cuts out one source of money laundering.

Second, delisting or inactivating dormant parties prevents the crowding out of the electoral space by non-serious parties.

Third, some parties register with EC for only some benefits.

For example, candidates belonging to political parties registered by the EC get preference in terms of allotment of free symbols that cannot be used by any other political party in elections across India.

What are the benefits available for recognized national or state political party?

First, recognized state and national parties get two sets of electoral rolls free of cost from the EC. Each candidate contesting general elections also gets a free copy of the electoral rolls.

Second, national parties receive land and buildings from the government to establish their party offices.

Third, national parties can have up to 40 star campaigners and state parties up to 20. The travel and other expenses of such campaigners are not included in the election expenditure of the party’s individual candidates.

Fifth, candidates of national parties get free time slots on national and state television and radio.

Sixth, all registered parties whether recognized or not are fully exempted from income tax of received donations, income from property, and other capital gains.

What can be further course of action?

EC should continuously review the state of a large number of political parties that are not actively participating in the democratic process.

Strict scrutiny from EC will discourage people from forming political parties only to take tax concessions and financial gains.

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