Election Commission's strictness on donations of political parties

Election Commission's strictness on donations of political parties: CEC made recommendations to the Law Ministry, saying- the limit of donations should be fixed

Sep 20, 2022 - 10:09
Election Commission's strictness on donations of political parties

The Election Commission has made recommendations to rein in the donations received to political parties. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar on Monday wrote to Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju recommending several amendments to the Representation of the People (RP) Act. According to sources, the CEC has said in the letter that the maximum limit should be fixed at 20 percent or 20 crores whichever is less, as cash donations to political parties.
In order to check the circulation of black money in elections, it has been recommended to reduce the limit of an anonymous cash donation from Rs.20,000 to Rs.2,000. According to the existing rules of the Election Commission, all political parties in the country have to disclose all donations above Rs 20,000.
Along with this, political parties have to report about this before the commission. Sources said that if this proposal of the commission is approved by the Law Ministry, then all donations above Rs 2000 will have to be reported to political parties, which will increase transparency. The Election Commission also wants the candidates to open a separate bank accounts for the election during the elections.
All transactions should be done from this account and this information should also be given in the statement of election expenses. This step has been taken by the Election Commission at a time when the Commission recently removed 284 such parties from the registered list, which were not complying with the rules.
According to government sources, after the implementation of this amendment under the Election Conduct Rules, 1961, a candidate will have to maintain a separate account for receipt and payment related to the election. Apart from this, it will have to be transparently disclosed to the authorities as an account of election expenses. As of now, maintaining a separate bank account for election expenses is part of the directives, but the Election Commission wants it to be part of the election conduct rules.
The Election Commission has also sought 'electoral reforms' to ensure that no foreign donations come into the funds of parties under the RP Act and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. Sources said, at present, there is no mechanism to specifically segregate foreign donations in the initial stages, and the current format of contribution reports is 'not equipped' to capture additional information.

Muskan Kumawat Journalist & Writer