EC cannot make parties follow their rule-books

EC cannot make parties follow their rule-books

By NAVTAN KUMAR | New Delhi | 8 October, 2016
Election Commission, political parties, constitutions, Right To Information, Gopal Prasad, Congress, Non-Resident Indian, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gnadhi
EC control parties
The Election Commission does not have any mechanism to ensure that political parties follow their own constitutions.

The Election Commission does not have any mechanism to ensure that political parties follow their own constitutions.

Every political party has its own constitution which it is supposed to abide by. However, the Commission has neither any monitoring process nor rules to enforce these parties to follow it.

This admission has come through a Right To Information (RTI) reply to a query, which was filed by activist Gopal Prasad.

In a specific query regarding the Congress, the EC has clarified that there is no party registered as “All India Congress Committee” or the “Congress” party. The reply, however, mentions that a party with the name “Indian National Congress” was registered under the People Representation Act, 1951 on 23 July 1981, under the leadership of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with  the“hand” as its symbol.

In another query, whether an active member of the Congress undergoes a minimum training as prescribed by its constitution, the Commission said it does not have any monitoring system to check if the Constitution adopted by the parties was being adhered to.

As per the party’s constitution, “no active member shall be entitled to contest any election on party ticket unless he undertakes a minimum training as may be prescribed by the working committee”.

On a specific query seeking details of whether the Commission has the details of office-bearers of political parties, who are foreigners or Indians of foreign origin or foreigners with Indian origin (Non-Resident Indian), the EC said: “As per rules/policies of the Election Commission, it is mandatory for the members of a political party to be an Indian citizen, at the time of registration.”

However, in response to a query whether All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi fulfil the requirements, the EC said those details were not available with it.

To a question whether the members of the Congress follow the party constitution which stipulates that “he/she is a habitual wearer of certified khadi”, “he/she abstains from alcoholic drinks and intoxicant drugs” and “he/she does not own any property in excess of the ceiling laws applicable to him/her”, the EC said information in this regard may be obtained from the party.

The EC said it has not issued any guidelines for the parties to ensure internal democracy though it asks for updated list of office-bearers from the recognised political parties.

 

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