New Delhi, May 10 :
The Delhi High Court has said that it can not prescribe the maximum expenditure limit that has to be spent and security deposit amount by a candidate for contesting a parliamentary election.
A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw dismissed a PIL that contended that Rs.25,000, the amount of the security deposit and Rs. 70 lakh, the maximum expenditure amount on election, should be less than as has been prescribed by the government.
The plea filed by Rama Kant Jindal said that there is fault with the condition laid down under section 34 of the Representation of People Act to deposit Rs. 25,000 (Rs.12,500 for SC/ST candidates) for contesting parliamentary election and the maximum limit imposed under section 77 of Rs.70 lakh to be spent for a Lok Sabha on the ground that it vests an economically stronger candidate with an advantage over an economically weak candidate.
The bench held that court can not determined the amount of what security deposit is to be made or the amount which should be prescribed to be spent on election.
Vide its notification of Feb 8, the government has revised ceilings and fixed the maximum limit of election expenses for a Lok Sabha constituency as Rs.70 lakh per candidate for most of the states.
“These provisions of security deposit and ceiling on the expenditure to be incurred on the election have been in force nearly since the inception of the elections in this country and have served the purpose well. For that reason alone the same are not to be tinkered with,” the court said in a recent order.
“The petition does not give any reason whatsoever as to why the amount fixed of the security deposit and of the maximum expenditure are arbitrary. It is unfortunate that the petition in public interest has been filed without any homework/ground work.
“We cannot also but comment that recent times have witnessed collection by individuals wanting to participate in election of large sums of monies from the public/supporters. It is thus not as if the same has been a deterrent to anyone from contesting election.”
The court said that undoubtedly the amount of the deposit has been enhanced from time to time, “however we do not find the requirement, of deposit of Rs.25,000 to be unreasonable as with the passage of time and in which time not only has the value/buying power of the rupee depreciated but general inflation has led to increase not only in prices but earnings across the board”.