Tuesday, August 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Parliament approves Bill on funding of parties
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 4
The Parliament today approved a legislation to legalise the funding of political parties and make it more transparent with the Rajya Sabha passing the measure by a voice vote.

The Election and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill 2003, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier, was approved after incorporating recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs.

The Bill seeks to regulate the funding of political parties by amending the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Companies Act, 1956, and the Income Tax Act, 1961.

It provides for contributions from companies and individuals to the political parties and the declaration by the latter to the Election Commission, where the contribution is in excess of Rs 20,000.

It has also proposed to amend Section 13 A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, to raise the voluntary contribution limit from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 for which no record is to be maintained by the political parties.

Replying to the over two-hour debate, Law Minister Arun Jaitley said it was a wrong notion of some members that the Bill had sought to legalise corruption as far as the funding of the political parties was concerned. “The Bill proposes to legalise the practice already in use since the last 45 years,” he said.

Mr Jaitley regretted that the country had attained independence 56 years ago, but did not have a mechanism for funding of political parties till date. He said the Bill was necessitated to cleanse the political system as most of the political parties had to survive on black money.

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