Commission issues clarification on election expenses of candidates and political parties seeking votes of overseas electors


As per the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010, Indian citizens absenting from their place of ordinary residence in India owing to their employment, education or otherwise outside India (whether temporarily or not) are entitled to have their names registered in the electoral rolls and on enrolment they can vote in the constituencies in which their place of residence in India. 


It is likely that as part of election campaign party leaders and candidates may travel to overseas countries for the purposes of canvassing in their favour to seek votes of the overseas electors residing in those countries. 

In this context, the Commission clarifies that though seeking votes of overseas electors by going abroad by the candidates or their agents or party leaders is not prohibited under the law, all expenditure incurred by those candidates, their agents or party leaders on their travel, boarding, lodging, etc., in those countries would be deemed to be the expenditure incurred or authorized by the candidates concerned in connection with their election. Thus, all such expenditure would come within the meaning of section 77(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and will have to be included by the candidates concerned in their accounts of election expenses which are subject to the limits prescribed by Rule 90 of the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961. 

The Commission further clarifies that any inducement to overseas electors by way of Air tickets or any other allurements to them, in cash or kind, to come to India for the purpose of voting at the aforesaid elections would amount to the electoral offence of ‘bribery’ within the meaning of section 171B of the Indian Penal Code, as also the corrupt practice of ‘bribery’ within the meaning of section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Commission of the above mentioned electoral offence and corrupt practice of bribery would invite penal action against the candidate concerned under the relevant provisions of law. 

It is further clarified that any other person or organization offering to bear the travel expenses of overseas electors to India in connection with the voting in the above elections, or any other such allurements to them to seek their votes, with the consent of the candidate or his election agent, would also attract the same penal action against them. 

The above clarifications of law by the Commission will equally apply in relation to all elections to the House of the People and State Legislative Assemblies in future. 

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