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Many Political Parties Fail To File Contribution/ Donation Report With ECI, Reveals RTI Response

6 Jan 2020 3:00 PM GMT
Many Political Parties Fail To File Contribution/ Donation Report With ECI, Reveals RTI Response
Contribution report makes no mention of donations via EBs
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Many State recognised political parties have failed to file annual Contribution Report to show the donations they received in Financial Year 2018-19 while three National parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party filed it only after the deadline was extended by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) from September 30 to October 31.

None of the reports have details of donations received by way of electoral bonds.

A contribution Report shows the donation received by the party in a given financial year.

The Contribution Report of political parties is perused to see if any political party has received donation illegally as per Section 29B of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which prohibits political parties from accepting donations from government companies and foreign sources.

The due date for filing of Donation/Contribution Report was September 30, 2019 and then October 30, 2019 as extended by CBDT.

The BJP filed the contribution report on the last date i.e. October 31 and the total contribution it received in year 2018-19 is "yet to be calculated".

Indian National Congress filed the same on August 30, 2019 and its total contribution is shown as Rs 1467821651.

The information was shared by the Election Commission of India in response to an open letter sent by Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd) to the Principal Secretary seeking information about list of political parties who have filed "declaration of donations" and the date on which they filed the same.

The same was treated as an application under the RTI Act.

Comm. Batra (Retd.) says, "It is mockery of democracy when the returns filed by political parties do not reveal the amount of donations received through Electoral Bonds. As of now, Rs 6,128 crore worth electoral bonds have been sold but a voter remains unaware of the source of donation received by the party she or he decides to vote for".

He also questions why some parties wait for the last day to file the report while many do not care to file the same.

As per the 29 C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Political Parties are required to submit their Contribution Reports in the Election Commission of India. The Commission then forwards the Contribution Reports to Central Board of Direct Taxes for scrutiny and further action.

Where the party fails to submit a report, it is not entitled to any tax relief.

As per ECI response, Indian National Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and All India Trinamool Congress are the four of the seven national parties which filed the contribution report prior to September 30. The Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and BJP filed it after the extension of due date. The BJP filed it on the last day on October 31, 2019.

Amongst the State Recognised Political Parties, most have yet to submit their contribution report.

In Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party submitted its report on September 26, 2019. It's total contribution has been calculated at Rs 146137077.

Barring All India Forward Bloc and Rashtriya Janata Dal, all parties in Delhi have filed the report that too prior to September 30, 2019.

In Andhra Pradesh, Asaduddin Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen filed the report on November 2, 2019. In Assam, of the four recognised parties, only All India United Democratic Front filed the report. None has filed it in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur.

In Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Goa, no party filed the report.

In Jammu and Kashmir, all three parties – J&K National Conference, J & K National Panthers Party and Peoples Democratic Party – could not file the contribution report. 

Click here to download the response here

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