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Graded action to be initiated against over 2,100 unrecognised political parties: ECI

ANI | Updated: May 25, 2022 17:46 IST

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday said it has initiated action against over 2,100 registered unrecognised political parties (RUPPs) for non-compliance with statutory requirements, especially related to income tax exemptions and filing of audited reports.

The ECI said in a statement that it has initiated graded action against the registered unrecognised political parties under the relevant sections 29A and 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

This is the second major decision taken by the ECI after new Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar assumed charge on May 15. Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey was also a part of this decision making.

The Commission is cognizant that compliance to the conditions and regulations in the said Act are essential conditions for maintaining financial discipline, propriety, public accountability, transparency and empowering voters for making informed decisions, ECI said.

In the absence of required compliance, the electorate and ECI are deprived of basic factual information in ensuring ECI’s mandate of conducting free, fair and transparent elections.

The Commission has evidence of serious financial impropriety, wilful attempts for tax evasion and other illegal financial activities against three specific registered unrecognised political parties (RUPPs) amounting to fraudulent use of privileges and public trust available to them.

There are 2,796 registered unrecognised political parties in India as in September 2021, which is an increase of over 300 per cent since 2001.

ECI found that out of 2,354 RUPPs, over 92 per cent RUPPs have not filed their contribution report in 2019. 199 RUPPs claimed Rs 445 crore IT exemptions in 2018-19. 219 RUPPs claimed Rs 608 crore IT exemptions in 2019-20. Out of these, 66 RUPPs have claimed income tax exemption without submitting contribution reports in Form 24A as mandated under section 29C of the Act.

87 RUPPs have been found to be not in existence. For the year 2019, 2,056 RUPPs have not yet filed their Annual Audited Accounts. In the general election 2019, out of 2,354 RUPPs only 623 contested elections. This means 70 per cent of RUPPs did not contest election.

The Commission has noted with serious concern that out of total 2,796 RUPPs, a large number are neither taking part in electoral process nor adhering to the one or several of the above requirements which is not only violative of statutory requirements but also defeats the purpose of clean electoral ecosystem, the ECI said. (ANI)