All recognised national and state parties will now have to submit an annual report to the Election Commission declaring that there are no dues pending in the form of rent for occupying government premises, telephone, electricity and water bills. But the commission has not made clear as to what action it would initiate against parties failing to file the report. The report for a particular financial year should be submitted to the Commission latest by June 30 of the following year.
“The Commission has directed that all recognised national and state political parties which are in occupation of accommodation provided by the government for running their party office or for any other purpose, shall submit report to the commission on annual basis. “In the report, the parties shall submit that they are not in arrears of any dues to the government on account of rent to the competent authority for the accommodation occupied by them and for services such as telephone, electricity, water and drainage charges at such accommodation,” the letter written by the Commission on September 11 said.
There are seven recognised national and 48 recognised state parties. Most of the parties in Delhi at least function out of government accommodations for which they pay rent. The poll panel directive is the outcome of a July, 2015 Delhi High Court order which had said that the EC should consider the possibility of requiring political parties fielding candidates in any election to furnish an affidavit that they are not in arrears of any electricity, water, telephone or other public dues, as a pre-condition to their fielding candidates in any election.
Based on the judgement, the commission had recently made it mandatory for candidates contesting polls to furnish a ‘no dues certificate’ from the agency providing electricity, water and telephone connections to their accommodation. In the recent assembly polls, some of the candidates could not file their nomination as they had not provided a ‘no dues certificate’, then Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi had told PTI in March.