Electoral Commission stringent political party donations: CEC made recommendations to Justice Ministry, saying donation limit should be set
The Electoral Commission has made recommendations to limit donations received to political parties. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar wrote to Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday recommending several amendments to the Representation of the People (RP) Act. According to sources, the CEC said in the letter that the maximum limit should be set at 20% or 20 crore, whichever is less, in cash donations to political parties.
In order to control the circulation of black money during elections, it was recommended to reduce the limit of an anonymous cash donation from Rs.20,000 to Rs.2,000. Under existing Electoral Commission rules, all political parties in the country must disclose all donations above Rs 20,000.
At the same time, political parties must report to the commission. Sources said that if this proposal by the commission is approved by the Ministry of Justice, then all donations above Rs 2000 will have to be reported to political parties, which will increase transparency. The Electoral Commission also wants candidates to open a separate bank account for the election during the elections.
All transactions must be made from this account and this information must also appear in the statement of election expenses. This measure was taken by the Electoral Commission at a time when the Commission recently removed 284 such parties from the registered list, which did not comply with the rules.
According to government sources, after the implementation of this amendment under the Rules of Conduct for Elections 1961, a candidate will be required to maintain a separate account for election-related receipts and payments. Other than that, it will need to be reported transparently to the authorities as an election expense account. At present, maintaining a separate bank account for election expenses is part of the guidelines, but the Electoral Commission wants it to be part of the rules for the conduct of elections.
The Election Commission has also called for “election reforms” to ensure that no foreign donations enter party funds under the PR Act and the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act of 2010 (FCRA). Sources said that currently there is no mechanism to segregate foreign donations in the early stages, and the current contribution reporting format is “not equipped” to capture additional information.