According to Section 78 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, every contesting Winner has to lodge a true copy of his election expenses within 30 days from the date of declaration of result of election, with the District Election Officer in all States and Union Territories. Tripura Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analyzed all 60 election expenditure statements submitted after the Tripura 2018 Assembly for newly elected MLAs. The expenditure limit for the Winners during the Tripura Assembly elections was Rs. 20 lakhs. These election expense documents include details of expenses on public meeting and processions, campaigning through electronic and print media, expense on campaign workers, expense on vehicles used and expense on campaign materials.
1. Each Winner is required to file his election expenditure statement within 30 days of the results of the elections, the deadline in case of the Tripura Assembly Elections being the 3rd April, 2018. It is recommended that the Abstract Expenditure Statement (Annexure 15) of the Winners is uploaded on the website of the CEO within 72 hours of the receipt of the statement.
2. The deadline for filing an election petition against any Winner is 45 days after the declaration of the results. Generally, Winners submit their election expenditure statements towards the end of the 30 days given for submission of the statements. This leaves 15 days for any common citizen to file an election petition against any Winner. The deadline for filing an election petition should be increased in order to give the citizens time to scrutinize the election expenditure statements of the Winners and gather the relevant documents/proof etc. for the election petition.
3. As has been instated in the filing of affidavits during the elections, the Winners should not be allowed to keep any field blank on the Abstract Election Expenditure statement (Annexure 15) and Schedule 1 to 9. The statements must be filled in a legible format and overwriting of amounts in the statement should be discouraged.