Over 500 candidates register for e-filing of affidavits
More than 500 candidates have filed their affidavits electronically till now after the Election Commission (EC), for the first time, introduced e-filing
New Delhi: More than 500 candidates have filed their affidavits electronically till now after the Election Commission (EC), for the first time, introduced e-filing of affidavits for candidates contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Sources said while over 500 registrations have been made on the various e-portals of the state poll bodies, 102 candidates have started filing in their statements of assets and liabilities online.
Thirty-eight candidates have already submitted their affidavits through the new initiative of e-filing till now, sources said.
“This procedure is catching up and the EC is happy about the success of the new method of filing of affidavits,” a senior official said.
The affidavits (Form 26) are supposed to be furnished by the candidates at the time of filing of their nomination for contesting a Parliamentary or an Assembly seat.
The e-filing of affidavits has been introduced keeping in mind an error-free and customer-friendly filing of data by a candidate trying luck at the hustings.
A typical affidavit filed by a candidate includes his personal information like details of assets (including movable and immovable properties), properties and accounts under his or her name in a foreign land, liabilities of the candidate, name of the spouse and dependants, educational qualifications and criminal antecedents, if any.
The filing of the affidavit is a mandatory exercise notified by the EC under the Representation of People Act and if it is not done correctly, the Returning Officer has the powers to reject a nomination.
The e-filing facility, however, will be optional for candidates this time and witnessing the fact that a number of tech-savvy candidates are entering the poll fray the EC has introduced it as a test case.
“If the initiative succeeds, its scope would be enlarged,” a senior EC official said.
According to procedures notified by the EC, after filing the affidavit on line, a candidate has to provide the Returning Officer an attested hard copy.
The e-filing procedures is much like the I-T returns filing on the computer, the official said.
The EC had late last year run a pilot-project in two Assembly constituencies in south India before deciding to roll it out in a full-fledged manner for the general elections.
The importance the EC is giving to these affidavits can be gauged from the fact that the poll panel has stated in its election guidelines that the copy of a candidate’s affidavit can be obtained on demand by other candidates, general public and media from the Returning Officer.
The EC has also asked state election panels to quickly upload these affidavits in their respective websites and also paste them for public viewing in their office premises.
The poll body has also recently raised the ceiling for election expenses for both Parliamentary and Assembly seats.
“The election expenses ceiling for candidates has been revised by the Government of India vide notification dated February 28. As per the revised ceilings, the maximum limit of election expenses for a Lok Sabha constituency is Rs 70 lakh per candidate for all states except Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Sikkim.
For these three states it is Rs 54 lakh per candidate.
“For the Union Territories, the maximum limit is Rs 70 lakh per candidate for NCT of Delhi and Rs 54 lakh per candidate for other UTs,” the EC has said in its latest communication to political parties.
“For the Assembly constituencies, the maximum limit is Rs 28 lakh per candidate for the bigger states and Delhi and Rs 20 lakh per candidate in the other states and Union Territory of Puducherry,” it said.