New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked why the Centre has not acted against the Congress and the BJP for accepting foreign funding in violation of the law, despite a 2014 court direction.
Justice A.K. Chawla gave six weeks’ time to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to file compliance report on its 2014 judgement.
The 2014 judgement had found both parties flouting the norms of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCR) by accepting donations from Indian subsidiaries of UK-based Vedanta Resources.
The court was hearing a contempt plea filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) alleging non-action of the government against the political parties.
Justice Chawla observed that delay in implementing the court order was “unjustified”.
Counsel appearing for MHA 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.
On March 28, 2014, the high court had ordered the Election Commission (EC) 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.
Section 4 of the FCR Act prohibits a political party or legislator from accepting foreign contributions.
Advocate Pranav Sachdeva, appearing for 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.
“Since there has been wilful disobedience on the part of the respondent (government) in compliance with the impugned order, respondent is liable for contempt of the court and contempt proceedings should be initiated against the respondent,” said the plea.
The court had held that UK-based 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.