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My dear sisters and brothers.
I appeal to you to read and understand the basis and grave importance of my campaign - #WhyHide - against the BJP-led government and Congress-led opposition leaders in Parliament.
The Budget 2018 has amended the definition of foreign source retrospectively with effect from 5th August, 1976 the date of commencement of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976.
This amendment is primarily intended to protect political which received donation from subsidiaries of foreign companies in violation of FCRA.
As a citizen of this Nation, I am asking the government and its elected representatives just one a simple question - #WhyHide.
#WhyHide the sources of your political funding from foreign donors. Are the sources questionable? Are the sources Anti-India forces? Will the sources of funds expose the hypocrisy of your political ideology or contribution to the nation?
Not one politician in the Parliament opposed this amendment. It is passed quietly without a debate.
Their actions only go to prove that there is something questionable in the non-declaration of the sources of foreign funding in political parties in particular BJP and Congress.
In the case Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) vs Union of India, judgement dated 28th March, 2014 the Delhi High Court held major National political parties BJP and Congress were guilty of taking foreign funding and violating the provisions of FCRA and directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Election Commission of India (ECI) to take action against the two parties within six months. It was observed by the Court that these political parties had taken donations from Vedanta & its subsidiaries, registered in England and Wales, and its subsidiaries. The Bench also rejected the stand taken by Ministry of Home Affairs which said that FCRA has not been violated. The judgment drew attention to the donations made to INC and BJP for the period up to the year 2009.
As a response to the above judgement the Finance Act 2016 amended the FCRA Law with retrospective effect. However the amendment to FCRA 2010 did not help the recipient of foreign contribution from such companies prior to 2010. Therefore this year the Finance Bill 2018 as proposed to extent the effect of amendments to 5th August 1976 retrospectively.
The Finance Bill 2018 has amended the FCRA 1976 w.e.f from 5th August, 1976. It is ironical that an amendment has been made to an act which has been repealed since September 2010.
The Representation of People’s Act, which lays down the rules for elections, bars political parties from accepting foreign funds. But the 2016 amendments in the FCRA made it easier for parties to accept foreign funds. The 2018 amendment completely does away with the scope for scrutiny of a political party’s funding for the last 42 years.
In simple terms it means the law, the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, that prohibited foreign funding for Indian political parties, has now been amended to exempt parties from any scrutiny. In effect, no questions will be asked and no answers given on such funding, including possible illegal transactions.
If we do not force the political parties to declare their foreign political funding donors; we might not be aware but we could as a Nation be opening the doors to foreign manipulations through ambitious political parties with intent to usurp political power and position by any means available.
If we do not force the political parties to declare their political funding sources; we will fail in our responsibilities as citizens to fight for a better political discourse, transparency and grooming of leaders in our nation.
I am a common citizen just like you and I earnestly appeal for you to join me in the fight for transparency in politics - #WhyHide.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief, GoaChronicle.com
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