The Delhi High Court directed the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday to file an affidavit indicating the powers it has to ensure implementation of its guidelines regarding disclosure of expenditure by political parties.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice AJ Bhambhani gave a final opportunity to the poll panel to submit the document and said it if fails to do so then the court will proceed to pass orders.

The high court also noted that the matter has been pending for the last five years and the direction to EC in February to file the affidavit has not been complied with till date.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for the petitioner NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), argued that political parties don’t file income tax but claim exemptions, requiring intervention.

The matter is posted for next hearing on July 16.

The high court had earlier asked the EC whether it is powerless to take action against political parties which do not comply with its instructions to disclose funding and expenditure details.

It said EC has to ensure that its instructions are followed by political parties and had asked, “Do you have no power (to take action) under the existing law?”

ADR is seeking implementation of the guidelines as well as the Law Commission’s recommendation that a provision be enacted to monitor and regulate the expenditure by political parties during elections.

The NGO has alleged in its plea that since the present political system was being “funded through various illegal means and also by the people and corporate agencies with vested interests, it (political system) does not seem to be inclined to give effect to the recommendations of the Law Commission”.