Sitaram Yechury challenges introduction of electoral bonds, calls it a way of legalising political corruption

Having amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the Congress and the BJP had saved themselves from prosecution as both the parties had received huge contributions from foreign companies, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged

PTI February 03, 2018 17:16:53 IST
Sitaram Yechury challenges introduction of electoral bonds, calls it a way of legalising political corruption

New Delhi: Having amended the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the Congress and the BJP had saved themselves from prosecution as both the parties had received huge contributions from foreign companies, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged on Saturday.

Sitaram Yechury challenges introduction of electoral bonds calls it a way of legalising political corruption

File image of CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. Firstpost/Naresh Sharma

Yechury and his party have challenged the Centre's decision in the Supreme Court on issuing electoral bonds to clean up corporate fundings to the political parties.

The apex court has sought the Centre's response to the petition.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud has issued notice on the plea and said it would be tagged along with another pending petition.

"Both the Congress and the BJP have received huge amounts of money from foreign companies. Had these parties not amended the FCRA respectively, they could have been prosecuted. They saved themselves," Yechury told reporters in New Delhi.

He added that the current BJP-led central government, through the Finance Act 2017, had amended four different statutes — the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934, the Representation of People Act 1951, the Income Tax Act 1961 and the Companies Act 2013 — to introduce the concept of electoral bonds.

These bonds were operationalised by the Centre through a notification on 2 January.

Alleging that the Congress and the BJP used their stints in power to frame policies that suited the corporates, the CPM leader said corporate fundings to the political parties should be banned.

"Political parties, being recipients of corporate fundings, use their stints in the government to make policies that suit the 'friendly' corporates. These corporates constitute the 'supply side' of corruption, which is corroding our system. Unless corporate funding is banned, this problem cannot be solved," he said.

Yechury contended that the constitutional challenge to the electoral bonds was on the ground that they flew into the face of the "Right to Know" under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, was "arbitrary and thus, violative of Article 14".

He further said that the bonds were introduced by perpetrating a "fraud" on the Constitution by passing the bill as a Money Bill, even though it did not qualify as one under Article 110 of the Constitution.

Yechury also released a list of donors, including some foreign companies, who had contributed huge sums of money to the Congress and the BJP since 2004.

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