Instructions/circulars to candidates issued under Rule 42 of the Chartered Accountants (Election to the Council) Rules, 2006
As members are aware, the triennial elections to the twenty third Council and twenty second Regional Councils are scheduled to be held on 4th and 5th December, 2015 in cities having more than 2500 voters and on 5th December, 2015 in other cities.
Ensuring a free and fair elections is a responsibility cast upon the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, and the Rules [Chartered Accountants (Election to the Council) Rules, 2006] and the Regulations [The Chartered Accountants Regulations, 1988] made thereunder. For the purpose, the said Rules required the Council to put in place an Election Code of Conduct and accordingly the Council had also approved an Election Code of Conduct to be operative from 3rd September, 2015 till the date of declaration of results of the Elections. This Election Code is deemed to be a Guideline of the Council, under Item (1) of Part II of the Second Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act and as such, it is obligatory for each candidate to comply with the same. In addition, the afore-mentioned Election Rules (Rule 42 specifically) places certain restrictions on members of the Institute at large, in connection with the conduct of election. As in the case of Election Code, noncompliance with the provisions of Rule 42 shall also attract disciplinary action against members of the Institute in terms of the provisions of the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 and the Chartered Accountants (Procedure of Investigations of Professional and Other Misconduct and Conduct Cases) Rules, 2007.
To sum up, it is mentioned that non-compliance with the provisions of Election Code of Conduct and of Rule 42 would attract disciplinary action against concerned member(s) of Institute, as far as the forthcoming elections are concerned. While bringing the aforesaid general ethical and regulatory requirements for information of all concerned, it has been considered appropriate to bring the following Do’s and Don’ts for information and guidance of candidates and their supporters so that a healthy and peaceful atmosphere is maintained during the election dates in general and at the polling booths in particular.
a. A candidate is entitled to be present at any of the polling booths in his constituency.
b. A candidate is entitled to appoint any two “members” as his authorized representatives i.e. booth agents for each polling booth, “only one” of whom shall be entitled to be present at any given time, on behalf of the candidate, at the specified/particular polling booth. (The appointment of such authorized representative should be through the letter of authority, format of which has already been made available to candidates/available on www.icai.org).
c. Distribution of visiting cards only “outside” the zero tolerance zone is permitted.
[Explanation: The distance of upto 200 meters from the building/room/hall in which the nearest polling booth is set up as identified by the Polling Officer having regard to the local conditions, is treated as Zero Tolerance Zone.]
d. Canvassing for votes only “outside” the Zero Tolerance Zone is permitted.
The following acts are totally banned inside as well as outside the Zero Tolerance Zone:
a. Crowding at the entry point of polling booth
b. Erection of kiosk/stall, putting tables, chairs and the like in any manner or form whatsoever
c. Distribution/supply of any gift to voters
d. Supply of refreshment(s) to voters, supporters or volunteers within the zero tolerance zone
e. Display of banners/hoardings/standees etc.
f. Wearing of badges, t-shirts, caps, tie and the like displaying name or ballot number of candidate
g. Distribution of pamphlets/letters/circulars/manifestoes or any other publicity materials including free distribution of books/calendars/diaries/handouts, in physical form or electronically, and the like.
h. Distribution of cards inside the Zero Tolerance Zone
i. Inducing a voter to vote or not to vote
j. Undue influence – direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of a candidate or his/her supporters, with the connivance of candidate, with the free exercise of any electoral right
k. Hiring or procuring, whether on payment or otherwise, of a vehicle by a candidate or by any other person, with the connivance of candidate, for the conveyance of voters
l. Canvassing for votes inside the Zero Tolerance Zone.
The aforesaid is titled as Instructions/Circulars for the purpose of regulatory requirements but I would prefer to treat it as an “Appeal” to the professionals belonging to the great profession of Chartered Accountants. I am confident that the conduct of each and every one involved/associated with the election would provide an atmosphere that would “encourage the voters” to reach the polling booths and cast their vote in a free and fair manner and without any inconvenience to them.
I earnestly seek your help, support and cooperation for the conduct and completion of the election in a manner befitting the profession of Chartered Accountants.
RETURNING OFFICER AND SECRETARY