SC seeks response from Centre, EC on black money in polls


NEW DELHI, November 3, 2018: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre, Election Commission and others on a public interest plea seeking "expeditious and stringent" steps to curb bribery and black money in the election process.

Besides the Centre and the Election Commission, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Hemant Gupta also sought response from the Enforcement Directorate, Central Board of Direct Taxes and several states including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Union Territory of Delhi and others.

The PIL petitioner was represented by advocate D. Mahesh Babu and Sravan Kumar.

The petitioner Kaka Rama Krishna, secretary, Andhra Pradesh unit of Communist Party of India (CPI) has contended that if the role of bribery and black money was not curbed in the election process, it "may end up being plutocracy."

The PIL petitioner has contended that due to inaction of the authorities and the Election Commission, "not a single candidate has been disqualified for spending money in excess to the limit fixed by Election Commission of India or about Rs 1,000 crore seized between 2014 to 2018 during elections by the Election officials."

He cited two former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and S. Sampath writing to the Centre reiterating the Election Commission's proposal to "combat the menace of bribery at elections."

Pointing to the "financial might" of the each vote, the PIL petitioner says that total expenditure in 2018-19 Union budget is Rs.2,920,484 crore. Total Number of eligible voters in 2014 was 81.45 crore.

Every vote, whether exercised or not, authorized expenditure of Rs 35,856 just in one year.

If only polled votes of 66.38% are considered, it shoots to Rs 54,000 per vote, says PIL.

Pointing to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the PIL says that for five years (2019 to 2024), every vote could be authorizing an expenditure of about Rs Rs 2 lakh by the elected representatives.