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EC to form unit to verify affidavits of poll candidates

Last Updated: Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 17:42

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday said it will set up a new unit in the next two to three months which will verify affidavits and expenditure statements filed by candidates to strengthen the poll monitoring process.

The `expenditure monitoring unit` will comprise officers of income tax department who will scrutinise the documents filed by candidates to examine the authenticity of the information, Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said.
"We are not able to monitor whether affidavits filed by
candidates regarding financial assets and liabilities or the
expenditure statement are true or false or whether there is
exaggeration or suppression of information."

"Therefore, we have decided to set up the new division
with officers from the income tax service who will look after
the expenditure monitoring division and look into all the
funding issues," Quraishi said at a seminar on electoral
reforms here.

Raising the issue of the present system in the
Commission, he said there were certain flaws in regard to the
autonomy status enjoyed by the commissioners, and it can be
corrected through constitutional amendments only.

"I think the time has come when the government has to
consider it (making amendments)," he said.

Quraishi said though Election Commission (Condition Of
Service Of Election Commissions And Transaction Of Business)
Act, 1991 has made it very clear that chief election
commissioner and election commissioners are equal in every
way, necessary amendments have not been carried out as yet.

He also lamented that the Election Commission has little
power to check "bogus parties" from registering.

"Although we have powers to register political parties,
we do not have powers to de-register them. It is very strange.
Now we have 1000 political parties and the number is
increasing by 80 to 100 every year," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, November 21, 2009 - 17:42
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