By Subash Mohapatra
BHUBANESWAR: It seems that the lawmakers themselves break the law of the land. In a blatant case of Dillip Kumar Tirkey, a former national hockey player and a member of Parliament from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the Upper house, Rajya Sabha from Sundargarh, Odisha, it is evidently clear that Tirkey, not only held back the expense details from the election Commission, a mandatory procedure for all candidates fighting the Lok Sabha Elections but also got away without being punished from the competent authorities.
A case, in which the MP Tirkey could have been debarred from holding any elected seat.
Dilip Kumar Tirkey hailing from Sundargarh, Odisha is a former Indian hockey player who on 22 March 2012, was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha as one of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidates to the Upper House of Indian Parliament. Tirki unsuccessfully contested the Loksabha Election held in the month of May, 2014.
According to the law, though Tirkey lost the elections, was bound to submit his account statement of election expenditure to the Election Commission of India within 30 days after the elections are over through the District Electoral officer (DEO) on or before June 16, 2014.
Surprisingly, Tirkey, never approached the DEO nor submitted any details of his election expenditure within the stipulated date.
Apart from this, it is the duty of the District Electoral Officer to make the account statement available for public viewing. But in this case, till date Dilip Tirki’s account statement is missing from the public domain.
As Tirki did not submit his expenditure details, on November 12, 2014, the Election Commission of India (ECI) issued show cause notice to Dilip Kumar Tirkey. Through the notice, the Election Commission directed Tirkey to submit his expenditure details within 20 days. But Tirkey took around 50 days to reply back and submit his expenditure details only on Jan 7, 2015 in blatant violation of the norms and guidelines laid down by the ECI regarding his non compliance with Sec.77 and 78 of the REPRESENTATION OF PEOPLE ACT 1951.
Moreover, when a request was made to the Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha on July 2, 2016, to get a copy of the show cause notice and its subsequent reply, it was turned down for the reasons best known to them.
Moreover, as there was no satisfactory reply from the District Election Officer, regarding non posting of the expenditure details of Tirkey on the public domain, another request was made to the ECI on June 29, 2016 demanding stringent action against the defaulting Rajya Sabha MP Dilip Tirkey as per the law.
A request for action on the Rajya Sabha MP was sought to the ECI stating therein that a candidate who has been called upon to show cause is required to submit the accounts within twenty days of the receipt of the notice from the ECI in writing to the Commission and he should also at the same time send the same to the District Election Officer (Returning Officer) in the case of Union Territories a copy of the representation together with a complete account of his election expenses, if he has not already furnished such account. But in the case of Dilip Kumar Tirkey, the District authorities have not yet made public the above information as mandated under law.
It is surprised how the ECI allowed such gross violation without taking stringent action as per law. The call-for-action letter further urged the ECI to recall the order and take measures for penalty for failure to lodge returns of election expenses in time and for adopting procedure for disqualification of Dilip Kumar Tirkey.
The ECI registered the complaint bearing ID No. OR/3/468159 which was required to be disposed of within 2 days as per the information available on the web portal of ECI.
It is pertinent to mention here that on December 1, 1998, the Supreme Court of India, through a judgement in the case of L.R. Shivaramagowda Etc vs T.M. Chandrashekar (D) and others in an Appeal (civil) 4272 of 1991, in para 22 clearly says that: Rule 89 provides that the District Election Officer shall report to the Election Commission, the name of each contesting candidate, whether such candidate has lodged his account of election expenses and if so the date on which such account has been lodged and whether in his opinion such account has been lodged within the time and in the manner required by the Act and the rules.
That Rule enables the Election Commission to decide whether a contesting candidate has failed to lodge his account of election expenses within the time and in the manner required by the Act after adopting the procedure mentioned therein. If an account is found to be incorrect or untrue by the Election Commission after enquiry under Rule 89, it could be held that the candidate had failed to lodge his account within the meaning of Section 10(A’) and the Election Commission may disqualify the said person.
In this case, Tirkey, the MP did not submit his lodge his account at all, within the stipulated time.
When Tirkey was tried to be contacted for his version, he neither picked up the phone nor replied to the e mail sent to him.