President Bidya Devi Bhandari has lifted the penalty imposed by the Election Commission on the candidates who failed to submit their expense details on the recent local level elections.
On the recommendation of the government, President Bhandari cancelled the more than 24 billion rupees punishment levied on over 100,000 candidates for failing to provide information of their election spending.
President Bhandari waived the pardon in accordance with Article 276 of the Constitution of Nepal on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, informed Leelakant Paudel, Assistant Spokesperson of the President's Office.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued an interim injunction prohibiting the collection of immediate fines from 123 thousand and 6 hundred 24 candidates who failed to publish their election expenditure data, including Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balendra Shah.
The cabinet meeting held on February 16 also decided to waive the penalty.
The Election Commission fined the candidates at the local level 24 billion and 638 million rupees, about five times the amount spent on the election expenses.
The Commission had spent 5 billion, 40 million, 392 thousand 876 rupees on the local level elections.
The Election Commission has voiced its dissatisfaction with the law following the government’s decision to cancel the penalty. Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapalia said that the fine imposed by the commission has been proved legitimate by the government's decision, as questions were raised in regard to the imposed fine.
Thapaliya said, "The decision of the commission was called immature by some people. Now that the government has issued a waiver, our decision to impose the penalty has proven to be mature and in accordance with the law. If the imposition was faulty, there would have been no reason to waive the fee."
Chief Commissioner Thapalia asserted that this situation has arisen due to a lack of attention in the Parliament while generating the election law. "It has been confirmed that the provisions in the law seem misguided.", said Thapalia, "So it should be corrected in a prudent manner."
Chief Commissioner Thapalia explained that this move has set a precedent that non-compliance with election laws will be punished.
According to the Election Act, details of the election expenses must be submitted within 30 days of the announcement of the election results. If the elected representative is unable to pay the fine within the mentioned period, his or her position will be revoked after six months, and for the candidates who lost the elections, they will be barred from participating in any election for six years if they omit the fine.