New Delhi, Jun 22: The Congress and the Election Commission (EC) have locked horns over the issue of submission of annual audit report of the party to the panel as part of guidelines issued to ensure transparency in the poll process.
After the Commission, for second time, asked the party to submit its annual audit report for the financial year 2013-14 early this year, the Congress, in separate communications told the EC that its directions in this regard are over-riding and "at variance" with statutory provisions and laid down laws.
The EC early this month reiterated its directions and asked the party to submit the said report within 30 days time, ending in the first week of July, which the Congress recently has refused to comply with. Senior Congress leader and party Treasurer Motilal Vora has asked the EC to withdraw the directive issued to it till the issue is resolved through legal ways or an amendment in the poll Act.
"You (EC) will also kindly appreciate that Annual Audited Account/Annual Audit Report referred to in your letter is no requirement of Section 29 (c) of Representation of People Act, 1951 and we have been trying to impress upon the Commission that no action or step may be taken on the basis of guidelines which are contrary to the statutory provisions," Vora said stating the Congress' stand on the issue.
The poll-panel, in its directives to the Congress for compliance, has cited Supreme Court judgements made in its favour to say that obtaining these reports from political parties is "essential for maintaining transparency in the functioning of political parties, which is a basic ingredient for conduct of free and fair election."
The EC also told the Congress that while it was not following its directions, four national and 28 state recognised parties have already complied with its directives and sent their annual audit reports to it.