Foreign Funding Legalized in Politics

0
118

Foreign Funding Legalized in Politics

  • The Representation of the People Act and the FCRA bar political parties from receiving foreign funds.
  • The 2016 amendment, though done retrospectively, only made valid the foreign donations received after 2010, the year when the 1976 Act was amended.
  • The Supreme Court in November 2017 issued notice to the Centre on a plea by the Association for Democratic Reforms, a political watchdog, that challenged the amendment through the Finance Bill route.
  • The amendment in FCRA in this year’s Finance Bill 2018 during the Budget will make all the donations from the foreign companies, which aren’t considered foreign anymore, undisputed.

Timeline of Events

January 2013 PIL filed in Delhi High Court by ADR & Dr. EAS Sarma.

28th March, 2014, INC & BJP were found guilty of taking foreign funding & violating the provisions of FCRA.

  • Delhi HC directed MHA & ECI to take action within 6 months
  • Political Parties challenged Delhi HC order in Supreme Court

22nd August, 2014, during the hearing, the Apex Court did not grant any stay against the High Court’s order.

May 2016 – Amendment to the FCRA in

The FCRA was amended by the Finance Act, 2016 – this was introduced as a Money Bill.

The amendment was a thinly disguised attempt to overturn a 2014 Delhi high court order that found both the Congress and BJP guilty of violating the FCRA and ordered the government and Election Commission to act against them.

The move came even as the government was cracking down on NGOs for allegedly violating the FCRA, freezing the bank accounts of Greenpeace and Citizens for Justice, Peace and Clean Environment.

 

November 2016 – Special Leave Petition filed in the Supreme Court and thereafter withdrawn.

February 2018 – Budget 2018 – A new amendment in the Finance Bill 2018 seeks to amend the 2016 amendment so that the political parties like BJP and Congress are off the hook for any donation received after August 5, 1976 – the date of the commencement of the original Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act of 1976.

The new amendment, if passed, could get both political parties off the hook for receiving foreign donations of up to Rs 5 crore from companies even before 2010 as well.

 

There are at least 25 instances of the Congress and the BJP receiving funding from the ‘Indian’ subsidiaries of various foreign companies before 2010.  As the table below, the parties have received funding in the range of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 5 crore from the Indian subsidiaries of Vedanta, Dow Chemicals and Switzerland-based Mundipharma over the course of six years from 2004 to 2010.

Company Amount (In Rupees) Year of Donation Political Party Parent Company
Hyatt Regency 5,00,000 FY 04-05 INC American Origin Company
Sterlite Industries Ltd 100,00,000 FY 04-05 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 5,00,000 FY 04-05 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 5,00,000 FY 04-05 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 2,00,000 FY 04-05 INC Vedanta
Adani Wilmer Ltd 2,50,000 FY 05-06 INC *Adani Wilmar Limited is a 50:50 joint venture between the Adani Group and Wilmar International Limited
Sesa Goa Ltd 5,00,000 FY 05-06 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 5,00,000 FY 05-06 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 2,00,000 FY 06-07 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 15,00,000 FY 07-08 INC Vedanta
Adani Wilmer Ltd 5,000,000 FY 08-09 INC Adani – Wilmer JV
Solaries Holding Ltd 5,000,000 FY 09-10 INC Vedanta
Solaries Holding Ltd 5,000,000 FY 09-10 INC Vedanta
Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. 50,000,000 FY 09-10 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 30,00,000 FY 09-10 INC Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd Sesa Ghor 5,00,000 FY 05-06 BJP Vedanta
Win Medicare (P) Ltd 25,00,000 FY 05-06 BJP Swiss origin company
Sesa Goa Ltd 2,00,000 FY 06-07 BJP Vedanta
Dow Chemical Int (P) Ltd 1,00,000 FY 06-07 BJP Union Carbide acquirer
Sesa Goa Ltd 15,00,000 FY 07-08 BJP Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 12,50,000 FY 07-08 BJP Vedanta
Adani Wilmar Ltd 50,00,000 FY 08-09 BJP Vedanta
Vedanta The Madras Aluminum Ltd 30,000,000 FY 09-10 BJP Vedanta
Vedanta The Madras Aluminum Ltd 50,00,000 FY 09-10 BJP Vedanta
Sesa Goa Ltd 50,00,000 FY 09-10 BJP Vedanta
Win Medicare (P) Ltd 25,00,000 FY 09-10 BJP Swiss origin company
Sesa Goa Ltd 10,00,000 FY 09-10 BJP Vedanta
  • *Adani Wilmar Limited is a 50:50 joint venture between the Adani Group and Wilmar International Limited

 

Source: https://thewire.in/business/finance-bill-seeks-amend-fcra-condone-illegal-donations-bjp-congress-received-foreign-companies

 

The Govt. in Budget 2018 bypassed debate to adopt its plan worth $376 billion and rushed through changes to protect political parties from legal consequences of breaking election rules on foreign funding received in past campaigns.

The amendment of a 42-year-old law that frees India’s biggest political parties from legal scrutiny on receiving overseas political funding was done in a dubious way. The Government Budget 2018 bypassed debate to adopt total expenditure plan of ₹21.57 lakh crore.

It was rushed through changes to protect political parties from legal consequences of breaking election rules on foreign funding received in past campaigns.

Only the third instance since 2000 that parliament has officially avoided debate on significant legislation.

“It may be technically legal but is certainly inappropriate.”

 



Leave a Reply