Election Commission Current Affairs - 2019
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Madras High Court has dismissed two writ petitions filed against the Presidential decision to rescind the Lok Sabha poll notification for the Vellore parliamentary constituency in the wake of complaints of large-scale distribution of cash to voters.
Why the Lok Sabha Polls in the Vellore Constituency was cancelled?
Lok Sabha election to the Vellore constituency was cancelled following the recovery of a huge amount of cash allegedly from a DMK candidate’s office.
The Election Commission had decided to cancel the polls after the district police had filed a complaint against the accused, Kathir Anand (DMK Candidate from Vellore) as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on April 10.
Observation made by the Madras High Court
Writ petitions were filed by AIADMK candidate A.C. Shanmugam and independent candidate K. Sugumar, who sought a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to conduct polls for the Vellore constituency along with 38 others in the State on 18th April.
The Supreme Court rejected the petitioners claim that the Constitution does not confer upon the President any power to countermand an election and, therefore, a gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice notifying the decision of the President to rescind the poll notification should be declared ultra vires.
The High Court pointed out that it was the EC that had made the recommendation for countermanding the polls to the President by exercising powers conferred on it under Article 324 of the Constitution, Section 21 of the General Clauses Act of 1897 and other enabling powers aimed at ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections.
It was the President who had notified the polls on March 19 on the basis of a recommendation made by the EC and by exercising powers conferred on him under Section 14 of the Representation of the People Act of 1951. Hence President was right in rescinding the notification on the basis of EC’s subsequent recommendation.
The Supreme Court has directed all political parties to furnish details about the receipts of electoral bonds in a sealed cover to the Election Commission.
Electoral Bond Scheme
- The government had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 on January 2, 2018.
- As per provisions of the Electoral Bond scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.
- A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals.
- Political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
- Electoral bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with an authorized bank.
Interim Order of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO which challenged the validity of the scheme and sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds be stayed or names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.
In an interim order passed by the Supreme Court, the apex court has directed all political parties to provide details of the amount and bank account of donors by May 30 to the Election Commission.