Election Commission Current Affairs - 2019
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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions barred political parties from using public resources that amount to advertisement for parties or propagating their election symbols.
The ECI has issued these directions in the wake of the High Court July 2016 order and considering the views of political parties.
- ECI order bars political parties from using public space, public funds or government machinery for carrying out activities propagate party election symbols or advertise them.
- It has clarified that above directions violates the lawful direction of it within the meaning of paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order.
- The clause 16A of the Order confers power on ECI to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party fails to follow its lawful directions and instructions or to observe Model Code of Conduct.
What do these directions mean?
Henceforth, no registered political party in the country shall either use or allow the use of any public place or public funds or government machinery for carrying out any activity that would amount to advertisement for the party or propagating party’s allotted election symbol. It will further augment ECI’s goal of conducting free and fair election and level playing field for all stakeholders.
The Delhi High Court in July 2016 had issued an order in Common Cause vs Bahujan Samaj Party case requesting ECI to issue appropriate directions or guidelines for preventing the recognised political party in power from using public resources for propagating the party’s election symbol. Delhi HC had mentioned that utilising public resources for promoting any political party or its election symbol is antithetical to the concept of free and fair election and the principle of level playing field for all stakeholders.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has granted national party status to All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) Party led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The party has fulfilled the required conditions to become a national party after getting status of state party in four states. The TMC is ruling the West Bengal Government and has its presence in north eastern states Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
With this recognition, TMC became seventh national party in the country along with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM).
Note: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is only the authority that grants National Party or State Party status to any political party in the country.
Eligibility to get National Party Status
If any political party
- (i) Secures at least 6% of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, in the Lok Sabha election or to the State Legislative Assembly and (ii) In addition, it wins at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha from any State or States. OR
- (iii) Wins at least 2% seats in the Lok Sabha (i.e., 11 seats in the existing Lok Sabha having 543 members) and these members are elected from at least three different States. OR
- (iv) It is recognised as a State party in at least four States.
- Recently in August 2016, the ECI had brought changes in Paragraph 6C of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to review the status of political parties every 10 years, instead of present norm of five years.
- For instance, the status of a party (either national or state party) that did not perform up to the required criteria in 2014 election will be reviewed in 2024.
- The changes has given major reprieve to three political parties (BSP, NCP and CPI) which were facing possibility of losing their “national party” status and all benefits associated with it despite not having met criteria in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.