A few days back, the Government of India had cancelled the licence of 4,470 organisations. The crackdown was followed by the fact that all these NGOs had engaged in irregularities including non-filing of annual returns. Not only these, but also in April, the licences of nearly 9,000 NGOs were cancelled for alleged violation of the FCRA.
On the other hand, the Election Commission has now slammed two political parties for their actions regarding the same reason for which the NGOs’ licences were cancelled. The EC has asked the Home Ministry to act against Congress and BJP, for receiving foreign funds which was in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA). The EC noted that both the parties had received donations from companies with majority foreign holdings and therefore it was in violation of the rules laid down in Foreign Contribution Regulation Act(FCRA).
As defined in Section 3(1) of FCRA, 2010, foreign
contribution cannot be accepted by any:
(a) a candidate for election;
(b) correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or
publisher of a registered newspaper;
(c) Judge, government servant or employee of any Corporation or any
other body controlled on owned by the Government;
(d) member of any legislature;
(e) political party or office bearer thereof;
(f) organization of a political nature as may be specified under
sub- section (1) of Section 5 by the Central Government.
(g) association or company engaged in the production or broadcast of
audio news or audio visual news or current affairs programmes
through any electronic mode, or any other electronic form as defined
in clause (r) of sub-section (i) of Section 2 of the Information
Technology Act, 2000 or any other mode of mass communication;
(h) correspondent or columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner of the
association or company referred to in clause (g).
Explanation – In clause (c) and section 6, the expression
“corporation’ means a corporation owned or controlled by the
Government and includes a Government company as defined in section
617 of the Companies Act, 1956.
(i) individuals or associations who have been prohibited from
receiving foreign contribution.
According to reports, post an order from the Delhi High Court last year, a list was prepared by the Home Ministry which mentioned that both the political parties had received “foreign” donations.
While the Congress received 10 donations of more than Rs 13 crore between 2007 and 2011, BJP received five such donations amounting to Rs 1.62 crore.
The HC acted after a PIL was filed by NGO and E.A.S. Sarma, a former secretary in the central government, alleging gross violation of Indian laws by the Congress and the BJP by allegedly receiving funding from Britain-based Vedanta Resources. The PIL had further alleged that the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, and the FCRA had been hampered
A report by Times of India, stated that the EC had written to the Home Ministry and asked the ministry to take “appropriate action” against them (the political parties involved) under FCRA in order to comply with the HC order.
As per reports, the Home Ministry submitted a list of ‘foreign source’ in response to the letter by the EC providing details of all donations received by Congress and BJP from companies having foreign holding of more than 50 per cent. But so far, the Home Ministry has not come out with any clarification on what action the Central government was planning to undertake regarding the political parties.