Delhi HC seeks EC’s response on PIL for internal polls in parties

Insight Online News

New Delhi, Oct 28 : The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the response of the Election Commission of India on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions for elections within political parties.

The PIL filed by Advocate C Rajashekaran, contended that various provisions related to the organisational elections are not being followed by the political parties due to their ‘feudal and oligarchic nature’ of functioning.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, while hearing the matter, directed the the poll body to file its response by December 23 for further hearing.

The petitioner had earlier filed a similar PIL, which was disposed off by the High Court with directions to the ECI to treat the petition as a representation.

According to the plea, in a letter dated August 13, 1996 to all the recognised national and state parties, and all the registered unrecognised parties, the Commission had observed that the various provisions relating to the organisational elections were not being followed by the political parties, and called upon them to follow their respective constitutions relating to party elections scrupulously.

The present petition prays for the Respondent Commission to take adequate steps to follow through with the said letter.

The plea said that political parties recognised as ‘national’ and ‘state’ parties gain unique advantages and benefits, including distinctive election symbols, grant of infrastructure to said national parties etc. and derive their funding from the common citizenry and interest groups comprising members of said citizenry, and as such, is a repository of the public’s faith, trust and voluntarily donated funds.

However, the lack of intra-party democracy in the political parties for leadership positions results in a situation where there is no mechanism for the political party to be held accountable to its members and its own constitution, it said.

Although most political parties provide for elections, they are often an eyewash as established political families within the parties continue to retain power as the top leadership of the party, it submitted.

The same is done through various means, including stacking the electoral college with supporters of the family members, unbridled power to top executives within such parties etc, effectively leading to a collapse of democratic norms and practices. The continued sidelining of the political process has been made possible on account of the lack of regulatory oversight and uniform norms of internal democracy applied to political parties, the plea read.


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