Adopted measures to curb menace of money power in election, will continue: EC to SC

Election Commission of India (EC)
Election Commission of India (EC)Image tweeted by EC spokesman

New Delhi: The Election Commission has informed the Supreme Court that it has time and again adopted various measures to curb the menace of money power in polls and one of the reasons for more money being seized today ahead of all elections is due to its increased vigilance and efforts.

The poll body’s response came on a plea by Prabhakar Deshpande seeking directions to come up with a comprehensive plan to curb excessive poll spending by political parties and candidates, and action against erring candidates and parties.

The EC, in an affidavit, contended that such a mechanism already exists and it has substantially managed to curb excessive poll spending by political parties.

One of the reasons for more money being seized today is the increased vigilance and efforts, it said.

“The ECI has time and again adopted various measures to curb the menace of money power in elections and will continue to do so in future...,”, said an affidavit filed by V.K. Pandey, Director, Law, EC.

The poll body emphasised that it is seriously concerned about the increasing use of money power in elections.

“To curb this menace, the ECI has effectively and successfully enforced the Election Expenditure Monitoring mechanism in the elections since the general elections to Bihar Legislative Assembly, 2010. In order to keep the election expenditure within the statutory limit prescribed under Rule 90 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 and also to curb excess expenditure/unaccounted expenditure, the ECI has introduced a robust mechanism for election expenditure monitoring during elections,” it said in the affidavit.

The poll body added that this includes deployment of expenditure observers, video surveillance teams, video viewing teams, accounting teams, complaint monitoring and call centre, media certification, and monitoring committee, flying squads and static surveillance teams. It further added that each candidate has to open a separate account for poll expenditure and maintain a register for day to day expenditure.

“The Election Expenditure Statements of National Political Parties and State Recognised Political Parties are uploaded on the website of the Election Commission of India and Chief Electoral Officer of State/UT concerned respectively.

“Incurring or authorising of expenditure by a candidate in contravention of Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 is a ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123(6) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951,” it added.

The EC contended that it requisition services of all law enforcement agencies and deploy their teams for election expenditure monitoring in poll-bound states and Union Territories.

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