HC asks Centre to look into political parties’ account for foreign funding

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New Delhi, Oct 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday gave six months’ time to the Union Home Ministry to comply with court’s 2014 order of looking into the accounts of political parties, including Congress and BJP, for traces of foreign funds.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar granted the last opportunity to Centre to comply with its order, within six months.

The 2014 judgement had found both parties flouting the norms of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCR) by accepting donations from Indian subsidiaries of Britain-based Vedanta Resources.

On March 28, 2014, the high court had ordered the Election Commission and the Home Ministry to look into the accounts of the Congress and BJP for traces of foreign funds and take action within six months.

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Section 4 of the FCR Act prohibits a political party or legislator from accepting foreign contributions.

Counsel appearing for Home Ministry told the court that the records were 40 years old and it would take time to go through. Counsel also said notice has been issued to both parties to file documents.

Advocate Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), had told the court that even after the lapse of three years of the court’s order, the government had not taken any action.

Holding that Vedanta Resources is a foreign company within the meaning of the Companies Act, 1956, and, therefore, the firm and its subsidiaries — Sterlite Industries and Sesa Goa — were foreign source as contemplated under the Act, the high court had also directed the Centre to look into the donations made to political parties by not only Sterlite and Sesa, but other similarly situated companies or corporations.

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