The EC had implemented these guidelines, called Transparency and Accountability in Party Funds and Election Expenditure, from October 1 this year and had stipulated a slew of measures including a ban on cash payments above Rs 20,000 except by cheque.
    
These norms aim to end opaqueness in the process of getting donations and funds by political parties in their coffers and those given to candidates.
    
Questioning the "legality and constitutionality" of implementing these directives, Congress said the guidelines "are legally untenable and are liable to be set aside on judicial review."
    
"It is, therefore, requested that before giving effect to the guidelines, the Commission may be pleased to hold a meeting of all the political parties on the subject and also refer the matter to the Ministry of Law and Justice for taking appropriate action as per law," Congress treasurer Motilal Vora wrote on October 7 explaining his party's stand on the subject to the EC.
    
Taking a similar stand, the CPI (Marxist) told the EC that many of these directives "are vague and there are possibilities of different interpretations and misinterpretations".
    
The party said it collects its funds through public meetings and street collection drives and there are "practical difficulties" in issuing individual acknowledgment or receipts or coupons to the donors of 'hundi' collections and others.
    
"We request that appropriate changes in the guidelines should be made based on our comments. We have also suggested that the Election Commission should call a meeting of the political parties before finalisation of the guidelines," party General Secretary Prakash Karat said in his letter on October 9 to the EC.
    
Under the new guidelines, the treasurer of a political party is now required to ensure maintenance of accounts at all state and lower levels and consolidated accounts at the central party headquarters.

The accounts maintained by the treasurer shall conform to the guidance note on accounting and auditing of political parties issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants. The annual accounts shall be audited and certified by certified chartered accountants as required under the Income Tax Act.
    
The Janta Dal (United) strongly opposed the action, saying the new requirements set under these guidelines by EC "constitute a significant deviation from the statutory norms and are not backed by a corresponding power with the Election Commission to impose such requirements."
    
The party said the EC's directives that all donations received by a political entity has to be reported to it for accounting is "beyond the powers of the Commission."
    
"In view of the above, we would suggest that the present circular may kindly be withdrawn and the matter may be referred to Parliament for due consideration as the guidelines... are not legally tenable and are liable to be set aside on judicial review," JD (U) President Sharad Yadav said in his October 21 letter to the poll panel.
    
The Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), headed by Lalu Prasad, echoed similar sentiments as it said such "wide ranging changes can and should be made only by the legislature by way of amendment to the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and not by way of administrative directions given contrary to the statute and the express legislative intent by an authority lacking the power to make the directions."
    
The BSP has also asked the EC, in its communication in September 2014, to either withdraw these guidelines or amend them "suitably so as to ensure its parity with the statutory provisions".
    
The EC guidelines, notified last month after having an all-party consultation on this issue last year, also stipulate that a party should ensure that no payment in excess of Rs 20,000 is made to any person or company in cash, except in a village or in town not served by a bank.

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