Proposal on penalising candidates furnishing wrong info under process says CEC ZaidiR2921992 (own work) via Wikimedia Commons
news Saturday, March 12, 2016 - 17:48

Election Commission's proposal seeking two years imprisonment for those furnishing incorrect details in poll affidavits is under the process of Union Law Ministry, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi said in Hyderabad on Saturday.

"The Commission has proposed that if there is any attempt to conceal relevant information...this should be criminalised and there should be a punishment of two years for concealing or giving false information in (poll) affidavit," Zaidi said while addressing 12th Annual National Conference on Electoral and Political Reforms.

It was organised by National Election Watch (NEW), and Association for Democratic Reforms.

He said there have been attempts to ensure that candidates furnish full information about their antecedents, criminal antecedents in particular, adding if candidates have not declared their criminal antecedents fully and concealed something, voters get only half truth which is in fact more harmful.

"To plug the loophole, the Commission has proposed that any concealment of information must be punishable with two years' imprisonment. The Law Commission has also endorsed it and the matter is under process of Law Ministry," the CEC said.

He further said electoral trusts at present are not prohibited from receiving foreign funds and since they are giving money to political parties, therefore, indirectly even foreign funds can go to political parties while it is prohibited for parties (to receive such funds).

"Quid pro quo of vested interests through these trusts and their funding is not ruled out," he noted, adding there are no restrictions on these trusts on receiving foreign funds.

"We have taken up (this matter)...I have learnt that the Ministry of Law and Finance are working together to plug this loophole to bar electoral trusts from receiving foreign funds. Therefore, the Commission suggested that electoral trusts should be prohibited from receiving foreign funds and we understand that the matter is under examination," Zaidi said.

NEW, a congregation of over 1200 Civil Society groups across India, and ADR, a citizen led non-political and non- governmental organisation have been working with an objective of improving democracy and governance in India.

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