The UPA Government at the cenre, in its Counter Affidavit filed recently in the scandalous Ashok Chavan falsification of election expenses case pending before The Supreme Court Of India has contended that the Election Commission Of India has no jurisdiction or power to disqualify a candidate on the basis of his or her election expenditure accounts although they are falsified. It further contended that ECI’s power to disqualify a candidate arises only in the event of failure to file an account of election expenses and not for any other reason including their falsification. This is a dangerous trend for democracy and the autonomous powers of the ECI under Articles 324-328 of the Constitution Of India.
The above pernicious attempt of the Union Government, in the infamous Paid news scandal, by Mr.Ashok Chavan- allegedly for money he spent in exchange for news in his favor in several news papers during his 2009 Election campaign is nothing but an affront to democracy and the autonomy of ECI. Mr.Ashok Chavan, afarmer Congress I, CM of Maharashtra, has challenged the jurisdiction of the ECI- in its inquiry into his illegal poll expenses during the 2009 election campaign before the Supreme Court. The Union Government recently tried to scuttle the autonomous powers of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India too.
The above attempts of the Union Government to destroy institution after institution be it CAG or ECI which are pillars of democracy smacks of UPA Government’s undemocratic motives at the Centre to interfere with the functioning of autonomous and independent bodies and doesn’t bode well for true democracy. ECI has every power to disqualify a candidate for falsification of election accounts and regulate poll expenses during elections under the Indian Constitution.
Hence, in a true democratic spirit, I’d advise the UPA-II Government to withdraw its Counter Affidavit in the above case and strengthen democracy and refrain from challenging the autonomy and jurisdiction of the ECI to regulate poll expenses of the candidates during elections. The ECI was only trying to check the unbridled exercise of money power by candidates/politicians during elections and let the UPA-II at the centre eschew from such unconstitutional methods of interfering with autonomous constitutional bodies like ECI and CAG. Let the independence of ECI remain intact and untouched.
Legal Expert And Political Commentator