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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

EC tells govt to stop parties from receiving anonymous donations

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 25, 2013
First Published: 00:43 IST(25/6/2013) | Last Updated: 00:45 IST(25/6/2013)

The Election Commission has asked the government to prohibit political parties and candidates from receiving anonymous donations by bringing about an amendment in the Representation of People’s Act.

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A major part of the money received by parties and their candidates in elections remains unaccounted as they claim to be donations from anonymous sources.

As per the law, the parties have to provide details of donations worth Rs. 20,000 or more for which they seek income tax exemption.

The commission wants a change in the law to make it mandatory for political parties to place its audited account of all donations received in a public domain.

Making public the account of political parties was also the reason cited by the Central Information Commission (CIC) for declaring six national parties as public authorities under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

As per the documents accessed by HT through RTI, the commission has also said it should be made mandatory for the parties to account for sale of coupons, a popular way of receiving donations.

“Every coupon should be accounted by issue of a proper receipt,” the commission said in a communication to the law commission, which is analysing electoral reforms.

The commission also wants that it should be mandatory for all contesting candidates to maintain a separate bank account for all poll-related expenses.

“Any transaction of more than Rs. 20,000 not shown in the bank account should be treated as unaccounted,” the commission had said.

The election watchdog has also suggested that 50% of expenses of the political parties for electioneering should be treated as spending by the candidate in his elections to provide a level-playing field during polls.

“It should not be that candidates with weak financial background are not able to compete with candidate with parties flush with funds,” an EC official explained.


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