The Election Commission has directed 86 political parties that failed to submit their audit report to furnish it within seven days.

The political parties in question - 46 failed to submit their report for three consecutive fiscal years and 40 failed to do so regularly - have been asked to furnish the report along with justifiable and satisfactory reasons, said EC Spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha.

A political party registered with the EC in line with the Political Party Act 2016 should maintain audit with its actual incomes and expenditures, and manage responsible office-bearers for keeping records and inform the EC in this regard, according to legal provisions.

They have been charged with flouting legal provisions that require a political party to get a licensed auditor to audit its incomes and expenditures as per the law within six months of the completion of a fiscal year and submit it within one month and make the audit report public, said the EC.

The EC, within 45 days of the expiry date of audit report submission, can direct a political party failing to submit its audit report to furnish clarifications with reasons through electronic or other media.

A political party failing to maintain or audit its incomes and expenditures or submit audit report or submit clarifications as directed can be fined up to Rs 20,000, according to existing provisions.

In case a political party fails to submit its audit report for three consecutive years, it, as per Clause 54 (1) of the Political Party Act, 2016 is fined up to Rs 50,000 and the EC can direct it to make corrections within six months.

The EC can scrap the registration of a political party committing the fault more than one time or failing to follow the given directive in this regard within one year or failing to pay the imposed fines.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.