EC issues a new format of affidavit to be filed by the candidates

As the Election Commission is likely to announce the poll schedule for the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in the next few days, it has issued a new format of affidavit to be filed by the candidates, along with the nomination papers, before the Returning Officer.

The new format has been prepared “for a better and more effective dissemination of information to the electors about the background of the candidates,” said Commission's Secretary K.F. Wilfred, in a letter to the Chief Electoral Officers of all the States/Union Territories on Friday. He has said that the new format of affidavits will be used for all the elections hereafter.

The affidavit, which basically seeks information relating to the candidate's criminal background, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications, has some additions seeking details of the Permanent Account Number (PAN) of the candidate, his/her spouse and dependents, details of their latest income-tax returns filed and total income shown in them.

The candidate would henceforth be asked to file details of their occupation and of that of their spouse.

Column for abstract details

There is a separate column of “abstract of the details given” which has to be filled up by them. With this, the voter would easily know the background of their candidates, sources said.

Interestingly, the affidavit also seeks all information on dues relating to the government departments, if any, for availing government accommodation, water, electricity, telephones/mobiles, government transport (including using of aircraft and helicopters), income-tax, wealth tax, service tax, property tax, sales tax etc.

Ceiling limit increased

In another circular, the EC informed the CEOs about the increase in the ceiling limit allowed for campaigning by a candidate in the Lok Sabha and Assembly poll.

The lowest maximum ceiling in the country for a Lok Sabha seat is fixed at Rs.16 lakh - for Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshwadeep, and the maximum is Rs.40 lakh for most places in the rest of the country. For the Assembly constituency, the lowest maximum of Rs.8 lakh is fixed for the seats in Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Puducherry, and for most other places, it is Rs.16 lakh (an increase of Rs.6 lakh).

Sources said that with regard to the maximum ceiling for the Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir, the amendment for increasing it has to be proposed by the State government. With the consent of the Central government it could be done, in view of the separate legislation applicable to the State.

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