Election Commission spoils the party for shady political outfits

Under the changed law, a yearly audit of political funds will be mandatory for every registered party, which will be submitted to the poll body.

Published: 19th March 2017 08:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2017 08:50 AM   |  A+A-

Election Commission of India premises. | PTI File Photo

NEW DELHI: Fly by night political outfits laundering dodgy monetary donations face excommunication from the Election Commission (EC), which will make sweeping changes in the law regarding party registration. There has been a threefold increase in the growth of new political parties from when the first general elections were held in 1952—from 53 to 465 in 2014.

Under the changed law, a yearly audit of political funds will be mandatory for every registered party, which will be submitted to the poll body. Its address, name and the name of the person under which its being registered will be verified at the time of the submission.

Exemptions under the Income Tax Act will apply only to parties that contest elections and win seat(s) in Parliament or the Assemblies. Currently, the source has to be declared only for donations exceeding Rs 20,000. Under the new law, every single rupee will have to be accounted for.

Under Section 29A of the Representation of People Act 1951, the EC last year had scrapped the registration of 255 fake political parties, which existed only on paper, by taking back their symbols.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma in its report submitted before the Rajya Sabha earlier this week said, “The committee is of the view that provisions relating to registration of political parties needs to be made more stringent so that non-serious political parties are not able to register in the first place and if registered, their registration could be cancelled.”

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