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New Regulations for Symbol Allocation to RUPPs


The Election Commission of India has implemented fresh regulations for the allocation of symbols to Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs). To obtain symbols, these parties are now required to submit audited accounts from the past three financial years, expenditure statements from the last two elections, and the signature of the authorized party official along with their symbol application.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Revised Rules for Symbol Allocation to Unrecognised Political Parties
  2. Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs)
  3. Allotment of Election Symbols:
  4. Split of a Recognised Political Party and the Issue of Election Symbol

Revised Rules for Symbol Allocation to Unrecognised Political Parties

The Election Commission of India has implemented fresh regulations for assigning symbols to Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs). Here are the key highlights:

Existing Practice:

  • Common symbols were allocated to RUPPs based on an undertaking to field a minimum of 5% of total candidates in a Legislative Assembly election.

Transparency Measures in 2014:

  • To enhance transparency, in 2014, the EC mandated RUPPs seeking common symbols to submit:
    • Proof of up-to-date contribution reports,
    • Audited annual accounts,
    • Updated election expenditure statements,
    • Latest organization details.

Changes Introduced:

  • Previously, RUPPs submitted the mentioned details separately.
  • Now, these details are integrated into the application format for a common symbol.
  • The new rules are effective from January 11 this year.

Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs)

Registration of Political Parties:

  • Article 324 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Election Commission of India (ECI) to register political parties.
  • Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, governs the registration of all political parties.
  • Parties must file an application with the ECI within 30 days of their formation to seek registration.

About RUPPs:

  • RUPPs include newly registered parties, those without sufficient votes to be a state/national party, and those that have never participated in elections since registration.
  • Such parties do not enjoy all benefits granted to recognized parties, which can be either National or State parties based on specific conditions.

Allotment of Election Symbols:

  • The ECI is responsible for symbol allotment under The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
  • Symbols can be reserved (exclusive to recognized parties) or ‘free.’
  • The EC publishes lists specifying parties and symbols through Gazette of India notifications.

Unrecognised Registered Parties and Election Symbol:

  • Candidates of unrecognised registered parties can choose from free, non-exclusive symbols.
  • After each election, these symbols become available for others to choose.

Recognised Parties and Election Symbol:

  • Recognised national and state parties receive exclusive symbols.

Unregistered Parties and Election Symbol:

  • Unregistered parties provide names of ten symbols in order of preference from a list of free symbols.
  • They may propose three new symbols for consideration, ensuring no resemblance to existing reserved or free symbols, no religious or communal connotation, and no depiction of birds or animals.

Split of a Recognised Political Party and the Issue of Election Symbol

Authority of the Election Commission (EC):

  • Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, empowers the EC to decide on the claim of rival factions in the event of a split within a recognised political party.
  • The EC considers all available facts and circumstances and hears representatives from the rival factions.

Binding Decision:

  • The decision made by the Commission is binding on all rival sections or groups within the party.

Resolution of Splits in Unrecognised Parties:

  • In cases of splits within registered but unrecognised parties, the ECI typically advises the conflicting factions to resolve their internal differences or seek resolution through legal means.

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024