New Delhi: The Election Commission on Tuesday suspended the recognition of former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) for its failure to file its election expenditure statement.
It is the first case that recognition of a party has been suspended by the poll panel under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, for its failure to follow the lawful directions of the commission, the Election Commission said in a statement.
The commission had earlier issued instructions to all political parties to file their election expenditure statement within 75 days of the assembly elections and 90 days of the Lok Sabha polls.
As per the commission’s instructions, the political parties were required to submit their election expenditure statements by August 26, 2014.
The commission had issued two reminders to the NPP to submit the required statement for the 2014 Lok Sabha election after the due date had long expired, the statement said.
Finally, the commission issued a notice on March 17 to the NPP to show cause as to why action should not be taken under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968 for failure to follow the lawful directions and instructions of the commission.
On receipt of the notice, the NPP requested time to submit its expenditure statement by April 15, 2015 and again for time up to by May 15, 2015 but failed to honour the deadline and did not file the expenditure statement.
The government on Tuesday introduced a Constitution amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha that seeks to provide 10 per cent reservation for economically backward sections in the general category in government jobs and higher educational institutions.
The introduction of the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot was a smooth affair in the House with no member raising any objection.
The Bill, cleared by the Union Cabinet on Monday with an eye on the upper castes vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, seeks to amend Articles 15 and 16 under whose present provisions the benefits of the existing reservations are generally not available for the economically weaker sections of the forward castes.
The statement of objects and reasons appended to the Bill said that the economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from attending the higher educational institutions and public employment on account of their financial incapacity to compete with those persons who are economically more privileged.
The benefits of existing reservations under clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15 and clause (4) of Article 16 are generally unavailable to them unless they meet the specific criteria of social and educational backwardness, it said.
The directive principles of State policy contained in Article 46 of the Constitution enjoins that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Under the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2005, clause (5) was inserted in Article 15 of the Constitution which enables the State to make special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens, or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes, in relation to their admission in higher educational institutions.
Similarly, clause (4) of Article 16 of the Constitution enables the State to make special provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
However, the statement of the objects and reasons said the economically weaker sections of citizens were not eligible for the benefit of reservation.
“With a view to fulfil the mandate of Article 46, and to ensure that economically weaker sections of citizens to get a fair chance of receiving higher education and participation in employment in the services of the State, it has been decided to amend the Constitution of India,” it said.
Accordingly, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 provides for reservation for the economically weaker sections of society in higher educational institutions, including private institutions aided or unaided by the State other than the minority educational institutions referred to in article 30 of the constitution and also provides for reservation for them in posts in initial appointment in services under the State, the government said in a statement.
The government decision has been described by the opposition as another “election gimmick” to garner votes. (IANS)