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Delhi HC seeks Election Commission response on plea seeking elections within political parties

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The Delhi High Court has on Thursday sought the Election Commission of India’s response in a plea filed to bring about transparency in the electoral process by instituting internal democracy within political parties. 

The Division Bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice in the plea which also alleges lack of adequate framework to regulate intra-party elections conducted by political parties, and thereby seeking formulation of a “model procedure” with respect to such intra-party elections. The matter is slated for next hearing on December 23, 2021.

The petition has been filed by lawyer and activist C. Rajashekaran through Advocates Abhimanyu Tewari and Aatrayi Das.

Relying on a letter issued by the Election Commission on August 13, 1996, wherein the Commission called upon various political parties to follow scrupulously their respective constitutions in relation to conduct of their organizational elections, the plea highlights alleged lack of intra-party democracy in respect of elections to leadership positions within the political parties. This, the plea claims, has resulted in a unique situation where there is no mechanism for said political party to be held accountable to its members and its own constitution.

In light of the above, the plea prayed for formulation of a ‘Model Procedure’ for holding internal elections, as also the incorporation of the model procedure so formulated into the Constitution of all political parties registered with the Election Commission.

Terming the internal party elections of political parties to be an ‘eyewash’ for established political families within the said parties to continue to retain the top leadership of the said party, the plea seeks external monitoring so as to ensure transparency and fairness in internal elections within political parties.

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While asserting that the elections to leadership positions within political parties is a must to bring about accountability and transparency, the plea reads:

“The continued dominance of dynastic families in democratic landscape of any democracy is reflective of the persistence of an elite political class in the political process, resulting in monopolisation of political power in the hands of a few persons/families, thereby undermining the key features of a democracy, viz. accountability.”

An earlier petition filed by the petitioner involving similar issue was disposed of by the Court  in January this year, asking the Election Commission to decide the legal notice sent by the petitioner seeking formulation of a model Code of Conduct for conducting inner party elections in political parties. The Election Commission has not taken any action on the said legal notice.

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