TUESDAY, 06 NOVEMBER 2012 23:24PNS | NEW DELHI
The Election Commission on Tuesday refused to de-recognise the Congress over allegation that it loaned party fund worth over Rs90 crore to a commercial entity, thus setting the stage for a showdown in court.
Dismissing the complaint filed in this regard by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy as not maintainable, the poll panel held it had no directions or instructions to regulate the manner of spending of funds by political parties. Swamy has now decided to move court against the EC decision hinting that the order was on expected lines.
Addressing the media on the EC order, Swamy said, “The EC should have at least held a hearing, which they did not do. This is a very pliant institution and is undermined by the Congress.” However, EC has not yet responded to Swamy’s earlier petition filed against Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi on October 31 accusing him of “fraud” for not disclosing his more than three lakh shareholding in Associated Journals in his assets and liabilities statement in his nomination paper for the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
In the present complaint, Swamy alleged that the Congress party violated the guidelines and rules for registration and recognition of political parties by lending party funds to a company, Associated Journals Private Limited, thus incurring de-recognition under Section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968.
EC Secretary Varinder Kumar replied stating that the provision applied for violation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and the case in hand had nothing to indicate “as to which provision of the MCC has been violated by the Congress party” or “the violation, if any, took place when the Code was in force in any state or states.” Under Section 29A to C of Representation of Peoples Act 1951 though parties can raise their funds, EC claimed, “There is no provision in the Act prescribing the manner in which the political parties may use those funds.”
The Congress seized the opportunity to lampoon Swamy. Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury said, “That is the legal position. I am surprised that Swamy does not know. He is the one who had claimed that he is a legal counsel and had fought so many cases.” The EC also dismissed as “baseless” Swamy’s assertions that the Commission officials leaked the decision to mediapersons prior to it being made public officially.