The CPI(M) today attacked the BJP for using the “tyranny of majority” in getting the Rajya Sabha-recommended crucial amendments to the Finance Bill rejected in the Lok Sabha, saying it amounted to a travesty of democratic norms. The major Left party also favoured a relook at the powers of the Lok Sabha Speaker to decide which issues could be included in a Money Bill on which the Upper House does not have much say.
Referring to the Lok Sabha’s rejection of five amendments to the Finance Bill 2017 passed by the Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “We had thought that the Lok Sabha will apply its mind on why the Rajya Sabha had passed those crucial amendments.” “But by using their brute majority, the BJP got the amendments rejected. This is tyranny of the majority which completely undermines democracy. It’s a travesty of democratic norms,” he said.
The amendments had proposed to delete the provisions relating to the immense powers given to taxmen and putting a cap of 7.5 per cent of net profit of a company for the last three financial years for donation to political parties. One of the amendments was to include a provision to direct a company to disclose the names of political parties to which it has contributed.
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With the rejection of these amendments, Yechury said, “unbridled” powers would now be given to income tax officers which would provide them “legal methods to intimidate and tarnish the image” of people. It could also be used as “a political weapon”, he added. Regarding corporate funding to parties, he said while the cap on funding has been removed, “now you can help all the shell companies to legalise their black money and moneys earned through corruption (by contributing to parties).” “Earlier it was mandatory to name the political party to which donations have been made by companies. This provision (part of the Rajya Sabha amendments) has now been taken out. “This is completely opposite to the high moral posture adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP on containing graft. It will open the floodgates of corruption,” the CPI(M) leader said.
On the Lok Sabha Speaker’s powers to decide on issues to be included in Money Bills, he said there is a need for “a relook” at these powers. Asked whether the party would move court on the issue, Yechury said, “We will move Parliament as there is no other course in a parliamentary democracy.” He also chided the Trinamool Congress for providing back-door support to the BJP by walking out of the Rajya Sabha yesterday before the voting on the amendments took place.