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  1. EC asks CBDT to follow uniform format to scrutinise candidates’ poll affidavits

EC asks CBDT to follow uniform format to scrutinise candidates’ poll affidavits

The Election Commission has asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes to come up with a "uniform format" to report scrutiny of assets and liabilities declared by candidates in their poll affidavits.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: July 26, 2018 4:05 PM
In a letter to the CBDT chairperson yesterday, the Election Commission said the verification report to check for mismatch should reflect the five categories decided by the two bodies in 2013, a senior EC functionary said.

The Election Commission has asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes to come up with a “uniform format” to report scrutiny of assets and liabilities declared by candidates in their poll affidavits.

In a letter to the CBDT chairperson yesterday, the Election Commission said the verification report to check for mismatch should reflect the five categories decided by the two bodies in 2013, a senior EC functionary said.

The EC’s letter comes after the CBDT cautioned the poll panel against putting in public domain the scrutiny report of assets and liabilities declared by candidates in their poll affidavits.

In November, 2017 and April this year, the EC had sought clarification from the CBDT on whether the poll panel could allow the public to access reports on the verification of election affidavits by the Director General of Income Tax (Investigation) under the Right to Information Act.

The EC feels that since a verification report is not an investigation report, its disclosure should not be restricted under Section 24 of the RTI Act, which exempts certain organisations from being covered under the information law.

Now, based on the response of the CBDT, the EC may decide on whether to put scrutiny reports in the public domain.

As of now, no fixed or standard format is followed to share verification reports with the EC.

The five categories under which the CBDT scrutinises the poll affidavits are: specific cases forwarded by the EC to the CBDT for verification; cases where there has been a phenomenal growth in the assets of a candidate based on affidavits filed in previous elections; cases of winning candidates and the veracity of the affidavits compared to the returns of income, if any, filed by them; cases where there was no PAN details but movable/immovable assets disclosed are in excess of Rs 5 crore; and matters where addition of new immovable assets above a threshold vis-a-vis last affidavit is noticed.

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