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The Election Commission of India (ECI) today told the Delhi High Court that regulation to bring transparency in the expenditure of political parties and the funds received by them are under its consideration. The poll panel's submission was made before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar who on May 3 had asked ECI to place the regulation before it. ECI's counsel P R Chopra informed the court that the guidelines with regard to party funds and election expenditure are under consideration before the appropriate authority and said they required some time to place it before the court. Allowing the ECI's request, the bench directed them to inform whether the parties were abiding by the guidelines on Transparency and Accountability in Party Funds and Election Expenditure by the next date of hearing, February 8, 2018. The court was hearing an NGO's plea for implementation of the Law Commission's recommendation that a provision be enacted to monitor and regulate the expenditure by political parties during elections. Petitioner Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has submitted that despite there being guidelines in place, the political parties were not abiding by them. The petition has said that despite the Law Commission's recommendations, there is no provision yet in the Representation of the People Act and the Election Rules to monitor the poll expenses of political parties. It has alleged that such a provision has "deliberately" not been enacted despite the Supreme Court having held that the EC has the power to give effect to the law panel's recommendations. ADR has claimed that the existing law "does not measure up to the existing realities". It has alleged that since the present political system is being "funded through various illegal means and also by the people and corporate agencies with vested interests, it (political system) does not seem to be inclined to give effect to the recommendations of the LC".
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