oppn parties Political Parties: Ending I-T Exemption is Not the Way

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
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Political Parties: Ending I-T Exemption is Not the Way

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-01-13 12:12:39

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court correctly refused to do away with the income tax exemption granted to political parties on their income. The reason stated was that no laws of the land are broken in granting such exemption. But otherwise too, the way to stop or prevent political corruption is not by withdrawing the income tax exemption. It is by introducing reforms in political funding laws and electoral practices laws.

As of now, political parties can accept donations from any or everybody in cash up to a ceiling of Rs 20000. This limit is granted to them without cross verification. They need not produce the address or the PAN number of the donor. This is a major loophole. Parties accept cash donations in crores. They just break the amount into multiples of Rs 20000 and enter them in their books of accounts in the names of the thousands of members they have. No laws are broken, no questions can be asked and no answers are ever provided by the parties themselves.

Then, recently the Election Commission (EC) disclosed that out of the over 1900 registered political parties in India, more than 400 have never fought an election. Since they are entitled to income tax exemptions, these parties have become the conduit of turning black money into white. It will not be a surprise if some of these parties are operated by the kith and kin of major political leaders. The EC has begun the process of delisting such parties.

The election spending laws should also be amended to include all possible expenses made by the candidate, the party, major campaigners of the party and other well wishers (which again is a circuitous way of spending by the candidate) in the election spending of the candidate. The limit of such spending should be upwardly revised as per current spending trends, after accounting for inflation since it was last revised.

The need is to prevent the parties from putting money generated through corruption into their party funds. It is no secret that parties that helm the government often receive kickbacks that are then put into the party fund through the less than Rs 20000 route. This limit should be restricted to just Rs 1000 and anything above this must be accepted through banking channels. Although it might not eliminate wrongdoing totally, it will bring it down several notches. Once that is done, other means of eliminating it totally can be looked into.