July 2, 2018
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Deepak Misra, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice A M Khanwilkar today issued notice to the Central Government on a petition filed by Mr. EAS Sarma, Former Secretary, Government of India, and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The petition challenges the amendments made with retrospective effect in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 through the Finance Act, 2016 and Finance Act, 2018, which was passed as a Money Bill. (A copy of the petition is attached with the email).
These amendments were seen as an attempt to overturn the judgment passed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 holding the two major political parties, BJP and INC, guilty of accepting foreign funding. The Delhi High Court ordered the Central Government and Election Commission of India to take action against BJP and INC within six months. (Click here for the copy of the judgment – https://bit.ly/2KsTB0c ).
These amendments to the FCRA law have opened doors to unlimited political donations from foreign companies and also legitimizing financial contributions received from foreign sources. The petition was necessitated due to the intransigence of the Central Government in complying with the Delhi HC order of March 2014 and instead trying to get BJP and INC off the hook by amending the FCRA 2010 in 2016 and subsequently the FCRA 1976 in March 2018.
Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar, Founder Member & Trustee, ADR said, “I hope that the Supreme Court will strike down the amendments introduced in FCRA 2010 by Section 236 of Finance Act, 2016 and by Section 217 of the Finance Act, 2018 as void, illegal and unconstitutional”.
National Election Watch/Association for Democratic Reforms