Current Affairs

Congress, BJP taken to Court over Vedanta political funding

A bench of Delhi High Court comprising of justices Sanjay Kishen Kaul and Indermeet Kaur today, on 10th of January 2013, heard the arguments of a PIL that has alleged that the two political parties namely Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have violated the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) 1951 and Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) by taking donations from government companies and foreign sources, which is prohibited under both the legislations.

The petitioners of the PIL were Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)and Dr. EAS Sarma, former secretary to the Government of India

The petition stated that INC and the BJP have violated Section 29B of the Representation of People’s Act 1951, which categorically prohibits them to take donations from government companies and from any foreign source.

The donation of huge sums of money made by the Vedanta Group (being a foreign company) to major political parties like INC and BJP is in clear violation of the FCR Act of 1976 and the FCR Act of 2010.

The donation of huge sums of money by the public sector undertakings (who are also State within Article 12 of the Constitution) to the political parties is in violation of Section 293A of the Companies Act.

Both BJP and INC have themselves declared, in their annual contribution reports submitted to the Election Commission of India (ECI), that they have received funding from the Vedanta Group, which is a foreign company listed on London Stock Exchange under the name “Vedanta Resources PLC”.

After hearing the petitioners, Delhi High Court has asked the Central Government (Home Ministry) and Election Commission of India (ECI) to file their responses within 2 weeks. Court has also said that the two political parties, INC and BJP, will be called upon to respond only after going through the responses of the Home Ministry and ECI. The next date of hearing in the matter has been set as 4th February 2013.

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