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EC issues notice to RJD over 2014-15 annual audit report
The Election Commission has sent a show cause notice to the RJD over its failure to file its annual audit report for financial year 2014-15 despite repeated reminders, asking as to why the party’s recognition should not be suspended or withdrawn.
In its order issued on April 13, the Commission said while parties have to submit their annual audit reports each year by October 31, Lalu Prasads Rashtriya Janata Dal has not submitted its records for the year 2014-15. The last date for submitting the report was October31, 2015.
“It is noticed that your party has so far not filed its annual audit report for the financial year 2014-15, although the due date for such filing has long expired on October 31, 2015,” said the notice addressed to the ashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) President and Treasurer and dated April 13. The EC made the notice public on Monday.
“Now, therefore the Election Commission hereby gives you a notice to show cause as to why action should not be taken against your party under Para 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, for failure to follow lawful directions and instructions of the Commission,” the order said.
Para 16 A empowers the poll panel “to suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe Model Code of Conduct or follow the lawful directions and instructions of the Commission.”
The poll panel pointed out that it issued “several reminders” to the party on November 11, 2015; January 20, 2016; February 26, 2016; May 25, 2016; October 5, 2016; June 2, 2017; January 12, 2018 and March 13, 2018.
“In the letter dated June 2, 2017, your party was specifically informed that the said letter may be treated as a lawful direction of the Commission within the meaning of Para 16A of the Election Symbols (R&A) Order, 1968,” the notice said.The EC told RJD that its written representation detailing the reasons for the “default” along with the annual audit report should reach it within 20 days from the receipt of the notice.
“In case you fail to do so within the stipulated time, your party will be liable, without any further reference to you, for action under Para 16 A,” the EC has warned.
The EC told the party led by former Bihar Chief Minister and Union Minister Lalu Prasad, and recognised as a regional party, that its representation in writing along with the annual audit reports for 2014-15 giving detailed reasons for the default need to be furnished within 20 days from the date of the notice’s receipt.
“In case you fail to do so within the stipulated time, your party will be liable, without any further reference to you, for action under Para 16A of the Election Symbols (R&A) Order, 1968,” the notice said.
All recognised political parties are required to furnish their annual audit reports of the last financial year to the EC by October-end of the next financial year.
As per Para 16A of the Election Symbols (R&A) Order, 1968, the Commission is empowered to suspend or withdraw the recognition of the defaulting political party if it deems that a recognised political party “has failed or has refused or is refusing or has shown or is showing defiance by its conduct or otherwise to follow or carry out the lawful directions and instructions of the Commission”.
Following a Supreme Court judgement, the EC has been asking parties to submit their audit reports to usher in transparency in political funding. Several of the parties have in the past skipped fling their reports.
There are 49 recognised state parties and seven recognised national parties including the BJP, the Congress, the TMC, the BSP, the NCP, the CPI and the CPI-M.
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