EC defends power to disqualify candidates for false poll accounts

New Delhi: Strongly opposing government's stand, the Election Commission has asserted that it has the powers to disqualify a candidate for lodging false accounts of election expenditure.
Submitting its affidavit in the Supreme Court in the paid news case of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, the EC had made its position clear and aggressively defended its powers against the Law Ministry submission that the Commission does not have the powers to disqualify a candidate on account of filing wrong election expenditure accounts.
"…the Election Commission verily believes and understands that its powers under section 10 A are not merely ministerial so as to receive the report of a District Election Officer to deal only with the proforma of submission of account or the time limit within which the account has to be submitted.
"That in any case, the EC also believes that the Legislature, in its wisdom, would not prescribe the power to impose a severe punishment of disqualification on a candidate for a period of three years for a mere ministerial violation of failure to comply with the requisite proforma with some mere procedural requirement of lodging of account in a prescribed proforma and not for a greater and more serious lapse of not maintaining the correct account," the EC said in its affidavit.
The EC said that it is just not in the mere business of record keeping of expenditure of a candidate fighting polls but it also has powers to take action against those who submit false or wrong information in this regard to it.