New Delhi: A major struggle has started between the Department of Revenue and Election Commission of India after recent raids in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and a few other places. The Election Commission has taken the advice of the income tax department with 'extreme displeasure' and has also said that the tone and tenor used for addressing a Constitutional Authority are in stark violation of the established protocol. 

The Revenue Department in its reply advised the Election Commission’s field officers to take immediate enforcement action at their end under the election and other appropriate laws. Interestingly, IAS officer Ashok Lavasa has served as the finance secretary, and IRS officer Sushil Chandra was head of the income tax department before becoming election commissioner.

The Election Commission, in its letter which was sent on Thursday, has used strong words against the income tax department. ECI has said, "The Election Commission of India expresses a deep sense of anguish about the casual and trivial manner in which the advisory to be neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory has been responded to by the Department of Revenue.

In part 3 of the aforementioned letter, instead of detailing the modalities of implementing the advisory, the department insolently chose to issue a counter advisory. 

Therefore, the Commission reprimands the Department of Revenue for making unwarranted remarks and expects that the directions issued by the Commission in the said advisory are followed in the letter as well as in spirit”. 

Also read: Income tax department gets multiple tip-offs regarding cash funding, more raids expected

The revenue department in its reply sent on 8th April had advised ECI and had asked the commission to instruct field officers. "The Department fully agrees with the observation that there is a need to conduct operations ruthlessly to contain this malpractice. Before such operations are undertaken, there has to be information and actionable intelligence available with the income tax authorities, so that they can act in the matter. 

As a rule, we always follow that practice. We understand the words 'neutral', 'impartial' and `non-discriminatory' to mean that we must act as and when information is available against anyone, irrespective of political affiliation. This is precisely the practice that the department follows and will continue to do so” the department has said.

"Since it is the responsibility of the Election Commission as also of the revenue agencies to check and eventually eliminate the use of unaccounted money in election, we would also like to urge the Election Commission to advise its field officers involved in the enforcement of the model code of conduct to take immediate enforcement action at their end under the election and other appropriate laws, if they come across any specific information about the use of illicit money in electoral processes. They may also, if deemed fit, pass on the information confidentially to the income tax department for taking further necessary action," I-T added.