Should the political parties reveal the source of foreign funding?
On a petition filed by Congress party against the ruling of Delhi High Court directing it to provide accounts of the foreign funding of the party, a bench headed by the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission of India (EC). The Supreme Court has granted six weeks time to the government and the EC to respond.
The Congress has taken a view that the political parties do not come under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. It has been argued that the Tax department is being provided with all the details in its annual Income Tax Returns and the Election Commission is monitoring the expenses. Congress has prayed that the names of the contributors who have given donations from abroad cannot be provided under the RTI Act.
The issue of disclosure of funds received by the political parties was decided by the Central Information Commission (CIC) which had directed in favour of disclosure. The CIC had held that the political parties are public authority under the RTI Act and had directed the six national parties to appoint the Public Information Officer.