Law Commission’s suggestion will help clean electoral politics
The Law Commission’s latest report focuses on bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the election process. One of its recommendations, however, goes beyond this and has significant implications for the Modi government’s avowed stand of curbing black economy. The Commission has recommended that a political party must mandatorily disclose the identity of donors who have contributed less than R20,000 to the party funds if such contributions exceed R20 crore or 20% of the total contribution (whichever is less) it receives. Given it would significantly restrict the flow of black money, the government would do well to accept this.
Political parties are hitherto not required to disclose the details of ‘small sum’ contributions, and this makes political contributions an effective channel for black money—the huge (often under-reported) poll-spends of the parties should be an indicator of this. Given smaller donations are often made in cash and leave no paper trail, political contributions are also one of the easiest routes for spending black money. Therefore, if the ruling party is to be seen as serious about acting on illegal wealth—one of its poll promises—not only should it implement the Law Commission’s recommendation, it should also start with itself, given it has the highest sum from undisclosed contributors.