Fearing misuse of financial contributions, the Election Commission has asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to look into the finances of 255 registered but unrecognised political parties it has unlisted this year for not contesting polls in the last one decade. In a letter sent to Chairman, CBDT on Wednesday, the poll watchdog has said that it has unlisted 255 registered but unrecognised political parties between February and December 15 this year.
They were unlisted for not contesting elections between 2005 and 2015. It said upon verification, the election machinery found that some parties are “no longer in existence or functioning.” The Commission has asked the CBDT to take “necessary action” if required in view of the provisions listed in section 29B and 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 against parties violating the law. Section 29B states that every political party may accept any amount of contribution voluntarily offered to it by any person or company other than a Government company.
According to section 29C, the treasurer of a political party or any other person authorised by it shall, in each financial year, prepare a report on the contribution in excess of Rs 20,000 received by it from any person in that financial year; and contribution in excess of Rs 20,000 received by it from companies other than Government companies in that financial year. While the poll watchdog has the mandate to register a political party, it lacks power under electoral laws to deregister any party.
As its demand to get power to deregister a party is pending with the Law Ministry, the Commission used its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to delist parties for being dormant and not contesting elections for a long time. There are over 1780 registered, but unrecognised political parties in the country. Besides, there are seven national parties — BJP, Congress, BSP, TMC, CPI, CPI-M and NCP — and 58 state parties. Seeking to stem flow of black money in elections, the Commission has proposed a slew of electoral reforms but most are pending with the government.