The Election Commission on Wednesday reprimanded the department of revenue for the "casual and trivial" manner in which its advisory to be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory during enforcement action was dealt with.
"EC expresses its deep sense of anguish about the casual and trivial manner in which the advisory to be absolutely neutral, impartial and non- discriminatory has been responded to by Department of Revenue. Instead of detailing the modalities of implementing the advisory, Department insolently chose to issue a counter advisory," the EC said.
EC's letter came in the backdrop after the revenue department on April 8 asked the poll panel to share "specific information" with the Income Tax I-T department about illicit money in the electoral process.
The revenue department, in its letter, also urged the EC to advise its field officers to take "immediate action" if they come across any specific information about the use of illicit money in the electoral process.
"Since it is the responsibility of the Election Commission as also of the revenue agencies to check and eventually eliminate the use of unaccounted money in election, we would also like to urge the Election Commission to advise its field officers involved in the enforcement of the model code of conduct to take immediate enforcement action at their end under the election and other appropriate laws, if they come across any specific information about the use of illicit money in electoral processes," the revenue department said.
In its reply, the poll panel has noted with "extreme displeasure, the tone and tenor used for addressing a Constitutional Authority in stark violation of the established protocol."
"Therefore, the Commission reprimands the Department of Revenue for making unwarranted remarks and expects that the directions issued by the Commission in the said advisory are followed in letter as well as in spirit," the EC said.
Against the backdrop of allegations that government was using agencies to target rival parties in poll season, the Election Commission on Sunday "strongly advised" the Finance Ministry that any action by its agencies during election time must be neutral and non-discriminatory.
In a letter to union revenue secretary, the commission had said it would like to "strongly advise that all enforcement actions during the election period, even when conducted ruthlessly with a view to curb this blatant electoral malpractice, should be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory."
First Published: IST