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Report No. 170

Part III

Analysis of views and Commission's Conclusions

Chapter I

Necessity for providing law relating to internal democracy within political parties

3.1.1. On a consideration of the various views expressed in the four seminars aforesaid and the vast number of responses received by us, we have come to the conclusion that for successful implementation of any of the aforesaid proposals, or for that matter for bringing a sense of discipline and order into the working of our political system and in the conduct of elections, it is necessary to provide by law for the formation, functioning, income and expenditure and the internal working of the recognised political parties both at the national and State level.

The necessity of such a requirement was stressed by Shri S.Jaipal Reddy, MP (a former Minister for Information and Broadcasting), by Shri Manjit Singh Khera (representing SAD), by Dr. N.L. Mitra, Director, National Law School of India University, and several other participants in the seminars held by the law Commission. To the same effect was the view expressed by Shri Santosh Sharma, IAS (retd.) and president of

"People First". As pointed out in chapter four of Part one, the German Constitution, which was enacted practically at the same time as our Constitution, expressly provides for formation and functioning of the political parties. Article 21 which has been set out in the said chapter says that the political parties shall help form the political will of the people, that political parties can be freely established and that their internal organisation shall conform to democratic principles. It further says that the political parties should publicly account for the sources and use of their funds and for their assets.

Article 21 further provides that political parties which by reason of their aims or the conduct of their adherents seek to impair or do away with the free democratic basic order or threaten the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional and that the Federal Constitutional Court shall rule upon the question of unconstitutionality. Clause (3) of Article 21 provides that the details in this behalf shall be provided by federal laws. Accordingly, on 24th July 1967, the law on Political Parties was enacted. We have already referred to the relevant provisions of this Law in chapter four of Part One.

3.1.1.1. Shri Rajni Kothari while dealing with powers of internal democracy in the Congress Party, said this:

"The 'Congress system' has to learn to bear more strains and deal with more problems but it has also to become more of a 'system' than it at present is. After March, 1967, it will need to consider further steps towards its own institutionalisation in the resolution of disputes, in the conduct of internal elections, in organising party intelligence and research, in policy-decison making, in the party's own federal relations, in party-government communications, and above all in regard to the whole process of selection of candidates for different types of elections and especially for the General Elections."

(Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Context of Electoral Change in India, General Elections, 1967, page3).

3.1.2. With a view to introduce and ensure internal democracy in the functioning of political parties, to make their working transparent and open and to ensure that the political parties become effective instruments of act hieving the constitutional goals set out in the Preamble and Parts III and IV of the Constitution of India, it is necessary to regulate by law their formation and functioning. In this connection, reference can be had to the law laid down in the nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in S.R.Bommai v. Union of India (1994 (3) SCC1). Explaining the concept of secularism implicit in the constitutional provisions, the Court made the following observations at page 236:

"Inspired by the Indian tradition of tolerance and fraternity, for whose sake, the greatest son of Modern India, Mahatma Gandhi, laid down his life and seeking to redeem the promise of religious neutrality held forth by the Congress Party, the Founding Fathers proceeded to create a State, secular in its outlook and egalitarian in its action if any party or organisation seeks to fight the elections on the basis of plank which has the proximate effect of eroding the secular philosophy of the Constitution it would certainly be guilty of following an unconstitutional course ion if the Constitution requires the State to be secular in thought and action, the same requirement attaches to political parties as well."

3.1.2.1. On the parity of the above reasoning, it must be said that if democracy and accountability constitute the core of our constitutional system, the same concepts must also apply to and bind the political parties which are integral to parliamentary democracy. It is the political parties that form the government, man the Parliament and run the governance of the country. It is therefore, necessary to introduce internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in the working of the political parties. A political party which does not respect democratic principles in its internal working cannot be exposed to respect those principles in the governance of the country. It cannot be dictatorship internally and democratic in its functioning outside.



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