The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslemeen can still restore its registration with the State Election Commission of Maharashtra (SECM) by submitting the documents of its audited accounts and Income Tax returns, even as the Hyderabad-based party has decided to file its appeal with the poll watchdog against its de-registration in state.
“There is no provision in the existing law that can deregister a political party permanently if it fails to annually submit its documents. If such political party tomorrow submits the documents then the SECM has to register the political party,” an SECM official said.
The state EC last Wednesday de-registered the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM along with 190 smaller outfits for failure to submit Income Tax returns and audited accounts, barring it from contesting a string of civic polls including the Mumbai city corporation.
When contacted, AIMIM MLA and lawyer Waris Pathan said, “the party leadership will decide on the future course of action (on deregistration). The party will file its appeal with the SECM. We hope SECM will consider our appeal”.
Welcoming the SECM’s observation about the possible restoration of the party’s registration, Pathan said the party will meet and decide on its future course of action.
Meanwhile, the SECM official said they had “referred the entire list of 326 unregistered political parties to the Income Tax department for scrutiny to find out how many of them have filed their IT returns, as SECM was faced with a problem of many political parties not complying with the law that mandates submitting the documents annually”.
The SECM had sent notices to 326 unregistered political parties in stages. However, 191 of them failed to submit any papers, forcing the SECM to take the decision to deregister them.
Clarifying the procedure, the official said the registered political parties are allocated election symbols based on their recognition as national, state or unrecognised registered political parties.
He said there are separate civic election laws for municipal corporations, municipal councils, zilla parishads, nagar panchayats and gram panchayats.
“Unlike the Election Commission of India (ECI), the SECM has to deal with registered political fronts or ‘aghadis’ which are formed before the elections. Many times such aghadis and fronts are dissolved after the elections are over,” he said.