March 26, 2017 5:22:33 pm
After its proposal to bar candidates from contesting for failure to clear utility dues, the Election Commission now wants a similar treatment to be meted out to the political parties.
The poll panel has written to political parties seeking their view on the issue and how to implement the Delhi High Court directive that not only candidates but also political parties should furnish ‘no dues certificate’ before fielding their candidates.
In August 2015, the court had asked the EC to ensure that candidates contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections furnish a ‘no dues certificate’ from the agency providing electricity, water and telephone connections to their accommodation.
The order had said the same rule should apply to political parties also.
“When we were examining the high court order, it was pointed out that it not only pertains to candidates but also to political parties. We are in correspondence with political parties. We have sought their views on how to go about it,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told PTI.
He also said in the recent Assembly polls, some of the candidates could not file their nomination as they had not provided a ‘no dues certificate’. All the seven national parties — the BJP, Congress, NCP, CPI, CPI-M, BSP and TMC — and major regional parties like the SP and AIADMK have been given government accommodation in the national capital for which they have to pay rent.
The poll watchdog has already written to the Law Ministry urging it to amend election laws so that candidates who have defaulted in clearing dues can be barred from contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. According to the EC, barring candidates will require amendment to the chapter-III of the Representation of the People Act which deals with electoral offences. A new clause will have to be inserted therein for disqualification “on the ground of being a defaulter of public dues”. The issue is pending with the government.
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