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Report No. 255

Illegal payments in connection with an election

7.24.6. Section 171H: Illegal Payments in Connection with an Election

"Whoever without the general or special authority in writing of a candidate incurs or authorises expenses on account of the holding of any public meeting, or upon any advertisement, circular or publication, or in any other way whatsoever for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of such candidate, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees:

Provided that if any person having incurred any such expenses not exceeding the amount of ten rupees without authority obtains within ten days from the date on which such expenses were incurred the approval in writing of the candidate, he shall be deemed to have incurred such expenses with the authority of the candidate."

This restriction on election expenses without the authority of the candidate also involves "advertisement". Therefore, advertisements have to be routed through the candidate. This is to ensure that any expenses on political advertisements are directly counted as candidate's election expenses.

7.24.7. These provisions have been used by the courts frequently, including in Ashok Chavan's, SLP (C) No. 29882 of 2011 case to target the paid news phenomenon. Though these provisions oversee expenditure incurred in such practices, they are not sufficient for tackling the problems of paid news and political advertising. For instance, if a candidate includes expenses of paid news, the paid news will still not be subjected to disqualification. It only controls excessive expenditure, not the practices of paid news and disguised political advertisements.

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