New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Friday issued showcause notices to 20 political parties including Congress, BJP and Aam Aadmi Party for failing to file poll expenditure statements within the stipulated time.
The EC also warned these parties that it would withdraw their recognition if these statements, pertaining to recently held Assembly and General elections, are not filed and sent to it within the next fortnight.
"Final opportunity is being given hereby to comply with the instructions of the Commission, for filing the said expenditure statement within a fortnight from date of receipt of this letter. Your attention is invited to para 16A of the Election Commission's Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968 which envisages action against violations of lawful instructions of the Commission," the EC wrote in its communication to these parties.
The defaulting parties who were issued the notices, both recognised and unrecognised, include the Congress, BJP, TRS, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Haryana Janhit Congress (BL), Zoram Nationalist Party, Hill State People's Democratic Party, United Democratic Party, National People's Party, People's Democratic Alliance, Manipur State Congress Party, Kerala Congress (M), Karnataka Jantha Paksha, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, People's Party of Arunachal, Asom Gana Parishad, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Revolutionary Socialist Party and All India NR Congress.
According to rules, as stipulated by a Supreme Court order, political parties are required to file their election expenditure statements within 75 days of Assembly elections and the deadline is 90 days in case of Lok Sabha polls.
A number of parties which have been issued notices by the poll panel, sources said, have defualted in filing the poll expense details of their parties for the Lok Sabha polls held early this year.
The EC had last written to these parties on October 22. The particular clause, 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, stipulates the "power of Commission to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe Model Code of Conduct or follow lawful directions and instructions of the Commission".
The EC has marked a similar communication to all the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of all states and Union Territories "to look into the matter and issue letters to the defaulting political parties" as the poll panel asked these authorities to furnish an updated report in this regard.
The Congress and the BJP, the notice said, had not furnished expenditure records to the EC for Lok Sabha polls held this year and recent Assembly polls that were conducted in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
AAP too has defaulted by not filing expenditure statements for the LS-2014 polls, it said.