Election Commission sets up panel to revise Expenditure Limit for candidates

On October 21, 2020, Election Commission constituted a committee under Harish Kumar, the former director general investigation and the election commission Secretary General Umesh Sinha. The two- member committee will examine the expenditure limit of candidates contesting in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections.

Highlights

The need to increase expenditure has come up due to the increase in the size of electorate and increasing inflation. Previously the expenditure sealing of a candidate was revised in 2014.

Background

The committee has been set up in the wake of GoI measure to enhance the expenditure limit by 10% as per the suggestion of the election commission for bigger States such as a Gujarat Andhra Pradesh Haryana and Bihar. This is because the candidates face difficulty in campaigning amidst covid-19 times.

On October 19, 2020, the Ministry of Law and Justice notified an amendment to the conduct of election rules 1961. According to the amendment the expenditure limit of candidates contesting in elections of Bihar and other states was increased by 10 percentage.

Legislation

The expenditure limit of elections by the candidates is specified under rule 90 of the conduct of election rules. By rule 90, if a candidate spends more than the prescribed limit he is bound to have committed a corrupt practice.

Expenditure limit

The expenditure limit of candidates contesting in elections vary from state to state. Accordingly, the recent amendment notified that the states with expenditure limit of 20 lakh rupees will see an upward revision to 22 lakh rupees and the states with the cap of 28 lakh rupees such as Bihar will see an increase of 30.8 lakh rupees.

The committee

The committee will assess the change in number of electors in the state and union territories. It will also assess the change in cost inflation index. The committee will examine factors that will have bearings on expenditure. The committee is to submit the report within 4 months office constitution.

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