SC notice to Centre on legalising foreign funding to political parties

SC seeks details of Rafael deal decision making process

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Central government’s response on a plea challenging the amendments to Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act which it said were introduced to bail out the BJP and Congress after a high court held them guilty of taking foreign funding.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud issued notice to the government on the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) plea seeking declaration that the amendments in FCRA 2010 by Section 236 of Finance Act, 2016 and by Section 217 of the Finance Act, 2018 are “void, illegal and unconstitutional”.

The amendments to the FCRA, the petitioner contended, were introduced with retrospective effect to overturn a Delhi High Court order holding the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress guilty of accepting donations from overseas companies.

The plea against the Delhi High Court judgment was rejected by the top court, said the plea.

The amendments to the FCRA 1976, the PIL said, have “opened doors to unlimited political donations from foreign companies, thereby legitimizing financial contributions received from foreign sources”.

Contending that the amendments were contrary to the principles of the separation of powers, it said that the amendment made in FCRA 2010 “vide the Finance Act 2016” was already under challenge before the top court and when matter is sub-judice, the Parliament by the Finance Act, 2018 has now made amendments with retrospective effect from 1976.

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