Apex court sends notice to govt on foreign funding to political parties

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By Muslim Mirror Special Correspondent,

New Delhi: In a setback to major political parties on foreign funding, Supreme Court on Monday issued the notice to the Government of India on the amendments made in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and Finance Act, 2018. The Present government had amended both the laws for getting foreign donations.

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On a petition filed by EAS Sarma, Former Secretary, Government of India, and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Deepak Misra, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice A M Khanwilkar issued the notice to the Central Government. The petition challenges the amendments made with retrospective effect in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 through the Finance Act, 2016 and Finance Act, 2018, which was passed as a Money Bill.

These amendments were seen as an attempt to overturn the judgment passed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 holding the two major political parties, BJP and INC, guilty of accepting foreign funding. The Delhi High Court ordered the Central Government and Election Commission of India to take action against BJP and INC within six months.

Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar, Founder Member and Trustee, ADR, expressed the hope that the Apex Court will strike down the amendments introduced in FCRA 2010 by Section 236 of Finance Act, 2016 and by Section 217 of the Finance Act, 2018 as void, illegal and unconstitutional.

These amendments to the FCRA law have opened doors to unlimited political donations from foreign companies and also legitimizing financial contributions received from foreign sources, he added.

The petition was necessitated due to the intransigence of the Central Government in complying with the Delhi HC order of March 2014 and instead of trying to get BJP and INC off the hook by amending the FCRA 2010 in 2016 and subsequently the FCRA 1976 in March 2018, Prof Chhokar said.

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