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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

EC differs with govt on funding of political parties

PTI  New Delhi, March 31, 2013
First Published: 12:45 IST(31/3/2013) | Last Updated: 12:48 IST(31/3/2013)

The Election Commission has differed with the government on the amendment of law with regard to funding of political parties.

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The EC does not agree with the law ministry that modifications proposed by it in 'Form 24A', used by political parties for mandatory declaration of donations received by them requires amendment in the electoral law. It feels it can be done through amendment of rules.

The law ministry had recently replied to the EC that its demand regarding removing the limit of Rs. 20,000 and making it mandatory for parties to show on record all voluntary donations, irrespective of the sum, has been referred to the Law Commission as it will require an amendment in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Law Commission is working on the issue of electoral reforms.

The EC however has said in its second letter to the law ministry that to implement the proposal of modifying the 'Form 24A' the ministry will just have to notify the rules and not carry out any amendment in the RP Act.

"The changes in the format of reporting of monetary contributions that are declared by political parties in 'Form 24 A' under section 29 of the Representation of the People Act can be done by a notification under the Conduct of Election Rules," informed sources said.

Citing an example, the EC has said that under Section 29C of the RP Act it "nowhere" mentions and asks for PAN, address and mode of contribution (cheque/draft/cash) of the contributor to the political party but the existing 'Form 24A' asks for all of these details.

"This is done under the rule 85B of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and these rules are there for the harmonious construction of the provisions of the RP Act and it allows authorities to prescribe certain conditions which is what the EC is asking for," sources said.

The EC has not asked for an amendment in the law but just a notification in the rules with an aim to ensure free and fair elections, they said.

In October last year, the EC had proposed to amend Form 24A, which makes it mandatory for political parties to file details every year of funds/donations they receive in excess of Rs. 20,000.

The Commission had suggested that the limitation of Rs. 20,000 be removed to make it mandatory for parties to show on record all voluntary donations, irrespective of the sum.


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