EC calls meeting of political party auditors on March 10

EC calls political party auditors meet
New Delhi, March 9: The Election Commission has convened a meeting of account auditors of all political parties tomorrow to discuss transparency guidelines norms and filing of financial statements by them after completion of Lok Sabha polls as part of efforts to to curb use of black money.

The EC has roped in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for preparing a reporting format for the parties and a total of 30 CAs are expected to attend the meeting which will also discuss a host of other measures initiated by the poll panel.

The EC, according to its revised transparency guidelines, has mandated that all political parties should file their audited accounts to it by October 30. As the Lok Sabha results will be out by May 16, after the nine-phase polls starting April 7, the EC expects these reports to come to it well in time.

During the meeting, the Commission is expected to brief the auditors on scrupulously following the guidelines framed by it in this context and even give suggestions to better the transparency guidelines which will be notified by the end of this month.

The ICAI, top body for CAs in the country, has helped the EC on framing accounting standards for political parties during the previously held Assembly polls in various states of the country.

The poll panel, during the day-long interaction, will also brief the auditors and officials of the Income Tax department about a host of measures it has taken to curb the use of illegal money in the polls and providing a level playing field to all candidates and parties who are trying their luck at the hustings.

One of the salient points mooted by the EC this time in the revised guidelines is that the parties, which desire to provide any amount to its candidates for their election expenses, "shall make such payment, not exceeding the prescribed ceiling, only through crossed account payee cheque or draft or through bank account transfer and not in cash".

Among the other suggestions is the EC's long-standing view that all political parties "shall submit a copy of the audited annual accounts with auditor's report for each financial year to it before October 30 of each year ."

These norms were prepared by the EC in consultation with the ICAI.

"Treasurer of the political party or such person as authorised by the party shall, besides maintaining the accounts at all state and local units, maintain consolidated accounts at the central party headquarters," says one of the guidelines which have now been sent to political parties for their comments.


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