Invisible Money in Elections

  • The reforms suggested by Election and Law Commission, and Government’s non-compliance on them
  • This non-compliance is increasing Invisible money in Elections


Power given to EC, under the RP Act
  • The Election Commission (EC) works in accordance with
    • Article 324 of the Constitution of India,
    • the Representation of the People Act (RP Act), 1951
    • the rules framed by the government thereunder, and various judgments of the Supreme Court and High Courts
  • The power to frame rules under the RP Act has not been given to the EC by successive governments


Status of reforms suggested by the EC
  • Most of the reform proposals by the EC have not been acted upon
  • It sent 22 proposals in 2004
  • In December 2016, it sent 47 proposals including those for “Election expenses and election petitions”, “Election campaign and advertisements”, and “Reforms relating to political parties”
  • There are also instances where the Supreme Court has directed reforms in its decisions, with the government and Parliament attempting to amend laws to prevent implementation of the judgments


Two proposals by the government which increase invisible money in Elections
Proposals made in recent budget:
(a) to remove the limit of 7.5% on profits that a company can donate to a political party, and
(b) to remove the requirement that the company making a donation to a political party disclose the name of the party and the amount donated


Suggestions by the Law commission
  • A logical and simple way of introducing financial transparency and accountability in the working of the political parties is recommended by the Law Commission
  • Suggestion: is to bring political parties under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005
  • The Central Information Commission (CIC) had also said in a full bench decision in June 2013 that six national political parties were indeed ‘public authorities’ under the RTI Act
  • Why: Because they fulfilled all conditions specified in Section 2(h) of the RTI Act which defines ‘public authority’


Reaction from Political Parties: Despite this decision, political parties, including the ruling party now, refused to accept RTI applications




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