Law ministry

Electoral commission writes to justice ministry, calls for restrictions on cash donations to political parties

In a bid to clean up election finance from black money, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has proposed to cap cash donations to political parties at 20% or a maximum of Rs 20 Crore and lower anonymous donations from Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000 on Monday (September 19).

According to officials, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar wrote a letter to Union Law Minister Kirren Rijiju proposing the above-mentioned amendments to the Representation of the People (RP) Act, reported The Hindu. The recommendation aims to build stronger reforms and transparency of donations to multiple political parties.

Tax raids across the country

ECI’s decision comes after the polling panel removed 284 parties from the list and declared them inactive due to failure to meet ECI standards. The CEC’s recommendation to the central government for an amendment to the PR Act comes after several income tax raids conducted across the country.

The tax raids exposed hundreds of crores received by political parties in the name of donations. Notably, during the raid against several unrecognized parties in Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, one party was identified operating out of a watch repair shop and had accepted Rs 370 crore in donations over the past few years. However, the party chairman has not been identified.

Similar raids carried out across India, particularly in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, have revealed that political parties are receiving large numbers of donations without any donation certificates.

Once the ECI proposal is accepted, political parties will have to reveal the sources of donations above Rs 2,000, as before, they used to reveal the sources of donations above Rs 20,000. This would bring transparency at all levels of funding, and all donations would be reported in the contribution report.

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