EC asks the government to Cap anonymous donations to political parties at Rs 2,000
Updated:  Oct 17, 2018, 11:00 AM
Ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019, Election Commission has urged the government to slash the cap on anonymous donations to political parties from the present Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000. They want more transparency in the donation process of political parties.
EC has written a letter to the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry last week and pointed out that while its demand to cap cash donations to parties to Rs 2,000 per person has been accepted and made part of the Finance Act. However, it’s another demand to cap anonymous donations to Rs 2,000 is still pending.
The commission in 2017 had asked the government to amend Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, to put a cap of anonymous donations. Last week's letter was a reminder for the government that the demand is still pending.
A functionary explained, "The commission feels that since donations up to Rs 20,000 can be kept anonymous and need not declared, there is a possibility that cash will also be accepted. This runs contrary to the bar on accepting cash donations beyond Rs 2,000."
It is not illegal for political parties to accept anonymous donations, however, there is an "indirect partial ban" on anonymous donations through the requirement of the declaration of donations under Section 29C of The Representation of the People Act.
The declaration is only mandatory for contributions above Rs 20,000.
The treasurer of a political party shall every financial year prepare a report on the contribution "in excess" of Rs 20,000 received by it from any person, state Section 29 C of the law.
The amendment proposed by EC to the government last week state, “anonymous contributions above or equal to the amount of rupees two thousand should be prohibited".
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