The Supreme Court has been asked to direct contesting candidates to maintain separate bank accounts to meet poll-related expenses.
Supreme Court lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Upadhyay filed a petition in which he said accounts must be maintained by candidates from the date of notification of the election till the declaration of results.
The plea further said any transaction made by a contesting candidate above Rs. 2,000, which had not come through a dedicated bank account should not be shown in the books of accounts and also be registered as an offence under Section 171-I of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Due to the appalling effects of black money on free and fair elections and the Centre’s unwillingness to reform the election system, the petitioner urged the apex court to issue mandatory instructions in this regard.
The petitioner also sought a direction that the amount of financial assistance given to a candidate by a political party shall not exceed the limit prescribed under Section 77 (3) of the Representation of People’s (RP) Act, 1951, as proposed by the Election Commission.
It further sought a direction and to declare that the ceiling on campaigning expenditures made by political parties shall be either 50 percent of or not more than the expenditure ceiling limit provided for candidates multiplied by the number of contesting candidates as suggested by the EC.
The petition sought to direct the central government to prescribe the number of star campaigners for byelections to ensure level playing field as proposed by the EC.