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Pvt_RajKing (Private)     27 December 2009

Internal Party Democracy

I am planning to file a writ petition with a HC or SUpreme Court seeking them to force the political parties to have internal party dmeocracy. I believe that internal party democracy is the only way to get rid of family politics, nepotism in politics and remove political professionals whose living depends on politics. Towards this, I have prepared a WP along two lines of thought (see below). In addition, I am looking for case laws relating to internal party democracy (political or public organizations). Do you know of any case laws? Do you know anyone else who could help me with the same?

 --------------- My lines of thoughts -----------
First line of thought is to ask the court some specific questions along the lines of existing judgments and representation of people act. The questions we have for court are as follows:
1. Does the undertaking/allegiance given for registration per sec 29A of Representation of People Act covers the administration of political parties (internal affair)? The answer seems to an obvious yes per the bare reading of the following:
- Kerala HC judgment on Kerala Vyapari Vavasayi Ekopana Samithi & other vs State Of Kerala And Ors. on 1/6/2000
- The Statement  of Objects and Reasons appended to the Bill which was introduced in the Parliament and subsequently was converted into an Act (Sec 29A ). (See INC vs Institute of Social Welfare 2001). It uses the term 'governing their functioning' for the reason to insert section 29A.
- Bare reading of the Paragraph 3 of the Symbols Order and Sec 29A and particularly section 29A(9) of representation of people act.

In addition, it must be borne in mind that the political parties are public utilities and corner stone of democracy. If NOT then would the Court/EC/Parliament be OK if political parties auction the MLAs/MPs seats in public? Obviously not!! Thus the constitution does care about 'functioning of political parties' in all aspects...

2. What is expected to happen when political parties violate their undertaking per 29A?
- If Election commission is not empowered to de-register then is there someone else who can?
- Can the EC issue orders or notifications directing the political parties to abide by their undertakings? (See Union of India vs Association For Democratic Reforms 2001)
- Who is expected to monitor such violations?
- What other remedies does the court foresees for such violations?

3. If the party administration/functioning is indeed expected to abide by the allegiance/undertaking per section 29A then that would cover the entire political party constitution. Would the court then agree that internal party democracy including the selection of candidates for MLAs and MPs is a must to satisfy section 29A? What specifically then needs to happen to correct the party constitution and force the parties to comply with the same?

The second line of thought is to treat political parties as public utilities and constitutional entities without which democracy cannot exist. That "Democracy is a part of the basic structure of our Constitution”. Then apply the notion of 'right to political participation i.e contest elections' at the same level as that of 'right to vote' (albeit statutory rights). They are both essential for democracy and are at the same level; and cannot be at different levels. Then apply the "principle that the RIGHT to a thing gives a RIGHT to the MEANS without which it could NOT be used". This has already been accepted (logically) for the right to vote by which the court upheld the disclosure of assets of election candidates.. As the custodians of the constitution and democracy, it is for the court to watch out for things that undermines the democracy and either ask the parliament to enact the law or fill it in with appropriate laws to uphold the democracy (until the parliament takes care of it).

I think the 2nd line of thought is also very powerful one that we may be under estimating it as such…

In addition, please note that the constitutions of Germany, Spain, Portugal and Finland have direct references to the inner party democracy. The same is true with Australia and Nepal.

I feel that the above two lines of thought are enough for us to make the case and get the court's attention and help with this issue.



 5 Replies

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     27 December 2009

 Well, if you have come in money, go ahead.

Isaac Gabriel (Advocate)     30 December 2009

Our politicians are the masters and directors  of the political system. Nothing can make inroads tp lay guielines to theit conduct.

Arup Kumar Gupta, Korba, Chattishgarh ((m)9893058429)     17 January 2010

Democracy can not fully succeed untill internal perty democracy is there. son of mulayam singh says that - he is the prince of sp; as rahul gandhi is prince for congress - what the mentality these party supremo poses. all most all the party lost their internal democracy.

if any one can bring it - he is wellcome.

Arup Kumar Gupta, Korba, Chattishgarh ((m)9893058429)     17 January 2010

SC is correct place, not HC

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     17 January 2010

 Democracy in a half-starved nation like India? Day dreaming.

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