Poll funding: With a view to encourage transparency in political donation and poll funding, the Election Commission has asked the Centre to reconsider the amendments in the Representation of the People (RP) Act and the Companies Act, according to Indian Express report. The amendments, which have been done recently, exempt political parties from disclosing donations received through electoral bonds. Apart from this, the amendments also allow removal of cap on corporate contribution to these parties, the IE report says. It has been learned that in a letter to Law Secretary Suresh Chandra, the Election Commission stated that it wants modification in the amendments.
According to IE report, under Section 29 (c) of the RP Act, political parties have to file contribution reports complete with details of donors for any contribution above Rs 20,000. But this was amended in the Budget session. A new proviso was introduced that exempt political parties from disclosing donations received from electoral bonds, even if it is above the prescribed limit. The poll body has asked the government to withdraw this new proviso. “In a situation where the contribution received through electoral bonds are not reported, on perusal of the contribution report of political parties, it cannot be ascertained whether the political party has taken any donation in violation of provision under Section 29(b) of the RP Act which prohibits the political parties from taking donations from government companies and foreign sources,” EC said in a letter, according to IE report.
Earlier, the EC has told a parliamentary committee that it does not support state funding of elections. It also sought radical reforms in the way funds are spent by political parties. State funding of polls imply the government providing funds to parties and candidates to fight elections, replacing the existing system of ploughing in private or party funds for the job, according to PTI report.
Notably, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the introduction of electoral bonds in his Budget speech this year. These bonds will be issued by a notified bank for specified denominations, which a donor can buy and gift to a registered political party. It has been learned that the identity of the donor will not be known to the receiver.