New Delhi: Ahead of Assembly polls in five
states, the Election Commission has stepped up measures to
keep a strict vigil on the election expenditure of candidates
in order to check misuse of money power in elections.
In detailed instructions to CEO`s of Tamil Nadu, West
Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry where assembly polls are
due sometime in May, EC said that distribution of money,
liquor, or any other item to the electors with intent to
influence them comes under the definition of bribery and is an
offence under the IPC.
"Yet another form of expenditure which is coming to the
fore in recent times is on Surrogate Advertisements, Paid News
etc," EC`s Expenditure Monitoring Division said.
"The systems should be robust enough to catch such
expenditure as well, and not only include it in the account of
election expenditure, but also take action against the
wrongdoers under the relevant provisions of the law, including
lodging of complaints before the police/competent magistrate,
if required," the EC said.
Maintenance of the day-to-day account of election
expenditure by the candidate is mandatory, it said, adding
though the account of election expenditure is required to be
submitted within 30 days from the date of the declaration of
the result, the monitoring has to be done on a regular basis
during the campaign period for it to be of any use.
Elaboraging on the structure of the Expenditure
monitoring mechanism, the EC said that whenever a complaint
regarding distribution of cash or liquor or any other item is
received, the flying squads shall reach the spot immediately.
The squad will gather necessary evidence, seize the
items of bribe, gather evidences and record statement of the
witnesses and persons and send a report immediately to the
RO with a copy to the SP.
The RO will issue notice to the candidate with regard to
the incidents of Paid News in consultation with the
Expenditure Observer for not showing the expenditure on such
publication. The Expenditure Observer shall send a report of
Paid News along with copy to the Election Commission within 24
hours, it said.