EC rules concerning carrying cash during elections

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Source: This article on the EC rules concerning carrying cash during elections is based on “Carrying cash during elections” which was published in “The Hindu” on 29th March 2024.

Why in news?

Prior to every election, the EC issues detailed instructions to keep a strict vigil on the movement of cash, liquor, jewellery, and other freebies.

How does EC deal with ‘money power’ during elections?

1) The EC caps campaign expenditure at Rs 95 lakh per constituency in bigger states, and Rs 75 lakh per constituency in smaller ones.

2) Before each election, the Election Commission (EC) instructs police, railways, airports, the Income Tax (IT) department, and other agencies to closely monitor the movement of cash, liquor, jewelry, drugs, and gifts to prevent their distribution to sway voters.

3) The Election Commission (EC) has specialized teams to address election expenditure and violations, including expenditure observers in each district, static surveillance teams (SST), and flying squads led by a Senior Executive Magistrate.

Rules for carrying cash and other items

1) Authorities are supposed to “instantaneously report to the IT Department” if anyone is carrying cash worth more than Rs 10 lakh, or more than 1 kg in bullion.

2) Cash or bullion can be seized till verification is completed, in order to ensure that it is not related to any political party or candidate.

3) If a vehicle carrying a candidate, her agent or a party worker is found with over Rs 50,000 in cash, drugs, liquor. lf items is worth more than Rs 10,000, then the items will be instantly seized.

4) If during checking, there is any suspicion of a crime, the seizure will be done under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

5) When it comes to carrying liquor across state borders, the excise laws of the respective state will apply.

What happens after a seizure?

1) In case any cash or other items are seized, authorities are meant to return them if they are not related to any candidate or a crime.

2) A district-level committee looks at grievances in order to avoid inconvenience to the public and genuine persons.

3) The Committee, including the district election office’s expenditure monitoring officer and the district treasury officer, will automatically review each seizure case where there’s no complaint or the seizure isn’t connected to any candidate, political party, or election campaign.

Read more: Model code of conduct

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