Thursday, November 30, 2023

EC trains officials in combating bribery of voters

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PNS | Hyderabad

The Election Commission’s resource persons sensitized Assistant Expenditure Observers (AEOs) on the need to combat the menace of bribing voters. All Assistant Expenditure Observers attended the training camp conducted on Monday at the CEO’s office in Hyderabad.

Briefing the objective of monitoring election expenditure they said, “Election expenditure can broadly be divided into two categories. The first category of expenditure is the legal expenditure which includes expenditure connected with campaigning, public meetings, public rallies, posters, banners, vehicles, advertisements etc. The second category of expenditure is on items which are not permitted under the law like distribution of money, liquor or any other item given to voters. This expenditure comes under the definition of ‘bribery’ which is an offence both under IPC and under the RP Act, 1951 (The Act).”
“Yet another form of expenditure is surrogate advertisements, paid news and social media etc. Expenditure on campaigning through social media tends to be underreported if at all by candidates. The systems should be robust enough to record such expenditure as well and not only include it in the account of election expenditure but also take action against offenders under the law, including filing of complaints before the police/ competent magistrate etc if required,” they said.
“According to Section 78 of the RP Act, 1951, every contesting candidate is required to file a true copy of his election expenses with the District Election Officer (DEO) within 30 days of the declaration of the result. Failure to file the statement about election expenses within time and in the manner required by law may result in disqualification of the candidate by the Election Commission under Section 10A of the RP Act, 1951,” they said.
The AEOs were trained on all aspects of expenditure monitoring of each candidate and ensure that all the expenditure reports of each candidate is obtained from the teams engaged in expenditure monitoring and that it is properly reflected in the candidate’s day to day accounts.
Narasimha told the AEOs about the need to maintain the shadow observation register and the folder of evidence by the accounting team.
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