Congress rejects EC suggestions for transparency in party funding
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2013, 20:38
  
New Delhi: Congress has said that accounting procedures prescribed by apex accountants' body ICAI for companies are not applicable to political parties as it rejected all 10 suggestions made by the Election Commission for transparency in party funding.

"Under the companies Act, every company is required to maintain its books of accounts, required for audit purposes in accordance with the standards prescribed by ICAI. These provisions do not apply to political parties," the Congress said in reply to EC suggestions.

The ruling party has rejected all 10 suggestions made by the poll body on issue of guidelines for bringing transparency in poll funding.

It said parties need to submit accounts duly verified by a Chartered Accountant as required under Section 139 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, which is being followed by it.

The EC had sought views of all 60 recognised national and state parties but only 11 of them have responded.

With the party holding huge amount of its funds in cash, Congress also rejected a proposal to issue receipts to all persons or companies making donations to it for elections, saying it is "neither practical nor possible".

"It should be left to the party to decide whether they want to deposit it in a bank or keep it in its office premises or use it for party purposes directly," it said.

"The proposed direction is difficult to implement in practice and is not under the ambit of Article 324 of the Constitution...It is neither practical nor possible in a fluid situation in the midst of an election campaign to issue receipts to each individual making such donations," Congress treasurer Motilal Vora said in response to a suggestion to give receipts to all contributors.

In a communication to the EC, the ruling party said it is also "difficult" to implement suggestions that all expenses or donations above Rs 20,000 be made through crossed cheques or bank transfer.

The Congress, in its response, said that "only if a consensus emerges" the EC may suggest to the central government to make appropriate amendments in the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and to frame rules to make the process of accounting of poll expenses more transparent.

To another suggestion, Vora said, "The manner and method of disbursing party funds for meeting election campaign expenses is again outside the statutory provisions of the RPA, 1951. From a practical standpoint, it may not be possible that all election campaign expenses are disbursed only by crossed account payee cheques or draft or RTGS or NEFT or Internet transfer."

The poll body had to extend its deadline from September 30 to October 15 to elicit views on the measure aimed at curbing use of black money ahead of assembly polls in states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi and Mizoram.

The parties which have submitted their suggestions besides Congress are Trinamool Congress, AIADMK, Indian Union Muslim League, Zoram Nationalist Party of Mizoram, Sikkim Democratic Front, CPI and Shiromani Akali Dal, besides All-India N R Congress, Puducherry.

The EC has proposed a 10-point plan to curb money power in polls that includes a proposal to include issue of receipt or acknowledgment to persons or companies for every amount of contribution or donation made to the party.

The proposed guidelines also include depositing all contributions or donations in a bank account within a reasonable time frame.

The poll watchdog, which has created an election expenditure monitoring cell and deployed tax sleuths to monitor cash flows during polls, has stressed that all payments made to candidates for poll-related expenses be done through recognised banking channels as mandated by RBI.

The EC said, "During election process, political parties may ensure that any party candidate, party functionary or party worker does not carry party funds in cash exceeding a specified amount."

PTI

First Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013, 20:38


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