Seriously concerned about increasing use of money power in elections, EC tells SC

EC, in its affidavit, also maintained before the Supreme Court that poll panel, which has time and again adopted various measures to curb the menace of money power in elections, will continue to do so in the future.

Seriously concerned about increasing use of money power in elections, EC tells SC

The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court that it is seriously concerned about the increasing use of money power in elections and to curb this menace, it has a robust mechanism for expenditure monitoring.In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, EC stated that it is seriously concerned about the increasing use of money power in elections and to curb this menace, the Election Commission of India has effectively and successively 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 Election Rules, 1961 and also to curb excess expenditure/unaccounted expenditure, the Election Commission of India has introduced a robust mechanism for Election Expenditure Monitoring during elections which comprises-- Deployment of Expenditure Observers, Assistant 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, EC apprised the top court.

EC, in its affidavit, also maintained before the Supreme Court that poll panel, which has time and again adopted various measures to curb the menace of money power in elections, will continue to do so in the future."However, while the Petitioner has sought that the Election Commission of India 'come up with a comprehensive plan of action to curb excess election expenditures with stringent and effective provisions of action against the erring candidates and Political Parties', he has not taken into account that such a mechanism already exists. As also noted in the Foreword by the former Chief Election Commissioner of the Report (upon which reliance has been placed by the Petitioner), one of the reasons for more money being seized today is the increased vigilance and efforts of the Election Commission of India," EC said in its affidavit and countered the prayer sought by one of the petitioners.

The response of the Election Commission came on a plea filed by one Prabhakar Deshpande, who sought directions to curb excessive poll spending by political parties and candidates. EC, in its reply, said that in case the top court is of the opinion that any further measures need to be undertaken/adopted, then they would ensure that the same is undertaken/complied with. EC said that incurring or authorizing 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.