FAQs on Election Petition and Election Expenses
1. Who can file an Election Petition? An election petition can be filed either by a candidate or a voter in the concerned constituency of the State. Other than these persons, no one can approach a High Court with an election petition. Voter is a person who was entitled to vote at the election to which the election petition relates. Whether he has voted at such election or not is immaterial. (Sec 81(1) explanation of Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act))
2. When can an Election Petition be filed? An Election Petition has to be filed within 45 days from the declaration of the results of the State Assembly elections.
3. Where can an Election Petition be filed? Election petition can be filed in the High Court of the State to which the State Assembly elections pertain. (80A RP Act)
4. What is the ground on which the Election Petition can be filed? There are many grounds on which an Election Petition can be filed. One of which is “Corrupt Practices” as defined under section 123 RP Act. Under declaration of election expenses is also a corrupt practice and one of the grounds for filing an Election Petition. If it is found or proved that a candidate has filed a false account of his election expenses in which some items of expenditure have been undervalued, an election petition can be filed.
5. What is the election expense limit prescribed by the Election Commission of India (ECI)? The election expense limit prescribed by the ECI is 16 lakhs (for Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu) and 8 lakhs (for Puducherry).
6. What is included in the election expense of a candidate? - Any expenditure incurred by the candidate or his election agent on his own - Expenditure incurred by a political party or by body or association or an individual (other than the candidate and his election agent) will be excluded from the expenditure incurred by a candidate if that expenditure has been shown in the account of the party/body/association/individual concerned and that account submitted to the Income Tax authorities. Otherwise, such expenditure shall be presumed to be that of the candidate.
7. Whose acts can be taken up for filing an Election Petition? Acts of the candidate along with his election agent or by any other person with the consent of the candidate or his election agent is covered for filing an Election Petition. (Sec 100(1)(b) RP Act)
8. What should be the content of the Election Petition? - It shall contain a concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies.- Full particulars of the corrupt practice alleged (i.e. under declaration of expenses) including as full a statement as possible of the names of the parties alleged and the date and place of the commission of each such practice - It should be signed by the petitioner. The petition shall also be accompanied by an affidavit in the prescribed form in support of the allegation of such corrupt practice. (Sec 83 RP Act)
9. What is the cost for filing an Election Petition? The petitioner shall have to deposit a sum of Rs. 2000/= in accordance with rules of the concerned High Court. (Sec 117 RP Act)
10. What is the role of High Court in proceeding with the petition? The trial of an election petition shall, so far as is practicable consistently with the interests of justice in respect of the trial, be continued from day to day. It shall be tried as expeditiously as possible and effort shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date on which the election petition is presented to the High Court for trial.