SC refuses urgent hearing on IT exemption for political donations

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New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday refused an urgent hearing of a PIL challenging a provision of the Income Tax Act exempting political parties from disclosing the identity of the doners contributing upto Rs 20,000.

Directing the listing of the PIL on January 11, a vacation bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice L. Nageswara Rao querried petitioner, lawyer M.L. Sharma about the urgency as the provision has been part of the Income Tax Act since 1961.

As Sharma pressed for an urgent hearing, contending that political parties were taking advantage of demonetisation and large deposits of upto Rs 20,000 were being made in their accounts, the bench said that the law is in operation for last 50 years and what was happening was that only deposits are being made.

Not persuaded by Sharma’s plea that political party would withdrew the money so deposited, the bench directed the listing of the matter on January 11, declining the plea for a hearing on January 3.

Sharma has sought the quashing of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and Section 29 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as being illegal, unconstitutional, mala fide and against the national interest.

His plea has also sought issuance of directions to Central Bureau of Investigation to register a case under Prevention of Money Laundering Act and probe the funding of the political parties and the alleged swelling of their coffers in the wake of demonetisation.

Sharma has also urged the court to monitor the probe by the investigating agencies.

He contended that this was a clear case of violation of the Constitution’s Article 14 (equality before law) as it amounted to double standards by the the central government vis-a-vis common man when it comes to unearthing black money.

While the common men is supposed to “bare it all, answer questions, face harassment even if his money is legitimate but politician enjoys a God-given immunity”, he said in his PIL.

–IANS

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