Delhi HC gives Centre 6 weeks to report on foreign funding of political parties
Section four of the FCRA prohibits a political party or legislator from accepting foreign contributions.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre why it has not acted on its direction to look into the accounts of political parties, including the Congress and BJP, for traces of foreign funds.
Justice AK Chawla gave six weeks’ time to the home ministry to submit a compliance report on its 2014 judgment, in which the High Court had found both parties flouting the norms of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCR) by accepting donations from Indian subsidiaries of UK-based Vedanta Resources.
Section four of the FCR Act prohibits a political party or legislator from accepting foreign contributions.
On March 28, 2014, the High Court had ordered the Election Commission (EC) and the home ministry to look into the accounts of the parties and take action within six months.
NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) moved a contempt plea before the High Court earlier this year claiming that even after the lapse of three years of the court’s verdict, the government had not taken any action.
“Alleged Contemnor/ Respondent herein is the Government of India has failed to take action against the offenders even after three years of passing of the said judgment of this Court,” the contempt petition reads.
“Despite the fact that there was no interim relief granted by the apex court...the government has remained in non-compliance with the judgment of the Delhi High court,” advocate Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for the NGO, said seeking to initiate contempt proceedings in the case.
Sachdeva has said that both Congress and BJP had challenged the High Court verdict before the Supreme Court but later chose to withdraw their petitions.
The High Court had in its 2014 landmark verdict rejected the government’s contention that Vedanta’s two subsidiaries – Sterlite and Sesa – were incorporated in India under the Companies Act and their donations could not be construed as ‘foreign contribution”.
It had also directed that the Centre to also look into the donations made to political parties by not only Sterlite and Sesa but other similarly situated companies or corporations.