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Delhi High Court Directs Election Commission To Respond On Plea For Regulation Of Internal Elections In Political Parties Within 2 Weeks

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
26 April 2022 8:01 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Directs Election Commission To Respond On Plea For Regulation Of Internal Elections In Political Parties Within 2 Weeks
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The Delhi High Court today directed the Election Commission of India to positive reply within 2 weeks, to a public interest litigation seeking regulatory oversight of internal elections in political parties.The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla noted that notice in the matter was issued in October 2021. However, the Commission has not responded...

The Delhi High Court today directed the Election Commission of India to positive reply within 2 weeks, to a public interest litigation seeking regulatory oversight of internal elections in political parties.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla noted that notice in the matter was issued in October 2021. However, the Commission has not responded till date.

Rejoinder, if any, shall be filed before the next date.

The petition has been filed by Advocate C. Rajashekaran, highlighting that provisions relating to the organisational elections were not being followed by the political parties.

Earlier, the High Court had disposed the plea directing the Commission to treat it as a representation. Now, aggrieved by the Commission's response that no specific action is required in the matter, the Petitioner has again moved the High Court on the following grounds:

Democracy is a crucial aspect of the basic structure of the constitution. However,
"One of the most crucial actors in the electoral process, namely political parties, continue to remain outside the regulatory ambit of the Election Commission of India with respect to intra-party democracy."

It is also pointed out that recognised political parties gain unique advantages, including distinctive election symbols, grant of infrastructure etc. and derive their funding from the common citizenry and interest groups.

Thus, it is argued that political parties are repositories of the public's faith, making intra-party democracy extremely crucial.

Reliance is placed on Kuldip Nayar v. Union of India, where the Supreme Court had recognized that Parliamentary democracy and multi-party system are an inherent part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.

"Lack of intra-party democracy in said political parties to leadership positions within the said parties results in a unique situation where there is no mechanism for said political party to be held accountable to its members and its own constitution," the plea states.
It is submitted that although most political parties provide for elections through the provisions, said elections are often an eyewash for established political families within the said parties to continue to retain power as the top leadership of said party.

On statutory powers, it is submitted,

"Democratic functioning of political parties is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure true allegiance to the Constitution, and to meaningfully enforce the declaration mandated under Section 29-A (5) of the Representation of People's Act, 1951."

It is further pointed out that the Election Commission has authority under Article 324 of the Constitution, of superintendence and control for preparation of electoral rolls for elections to State Legislatures and the Parliament.

Case Title: C. Rajashekaran v. Election Commission of India

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