The Supreme Court has issued an interim order in the writ petition filed by Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balen Shah against the Election Commission’s decision to fine him for not submitting details of election expenses in time.
Hearing the petition filed by Shah on January 3, the apex court’s constitutional bench on Wednesday has issued a show cause notice to the Election Commission.
According to Shah’s legal advisor Om Prakash Aryal, Shah had registered the petition with the constitutional bench with two demands.
“He [Shah] had demanded that he should not be fined for submitting details of election expenses, which should be submitted within 30 days, on the 31st day as the 30th day was a holiday,” Aryal said. “His another demand was that the Commission’s decision to fine, revoke the posts of people’s representatives not paying the fines and bar other candidates from becoming candidates for six years not be implemented as it was unlawful.”
The Election Commission had slapped a fine of Rs 750,000 on Shah in September 2022 for not submitting details of the expenditure incurred during his victorious election campaign. A total of 123,624 victorious and losing candidates in the local elections were fined by the Election Commission.
The Election Commission had said that the candidates violated the clause 26 (1) of the Election Commission Act requiring candidates to submit expenditure details within 30 days of election result.
The candidates who were defeated will not get to become candidates while the elected ones will lose their posts if they don't pay the fines within six months.
Shah has claimed in his petition that he had submitted the expenditure details in time.
The candidates were required to submit the details by June 25, 2022 (30 days), which fell on a Saturday. Shah has argued that he had submitted the details the next day as Saturday is a public holiday. The Election Commission, however, had remained open even on Saturdays during that period.
Shah has pointed that he spent only Rs 394,489 in his campaign -- well below the Election Commission’s ceiling of Rs 750,000. He has also contended that he and many more have suffered injustice at the hands of the Election Commission.