The demand for transparency in political donations has been a long-pending issue. The Delhi high court’s verdict against BJP and Congress for receiving foreign funds illegally last year and the recent controversy over Aam Aadmi Party receiving donations from “unknown source” have sparked political reactions. Now, the Law Commission of India is all set to submit a report to the Centre over the issue of donations.

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The demand for transparency in political donations has been a long-pending issue. The Delhi high court’s verdict against BJP and Congress for receiving foreign funds illegally last year and the recent controversy over Aam Aadmi Party receiving donations from “unknown source” have sparked political reactions. Now, the Law Commission of India is all set to submit a report to the Centre over the issue of donations. After holding consultation with the stake holders, the law panel is likely to submit its 255th report pertaining to electoral reforms to the union law ministry on March 11. The law panel has drafted the report as to whether the existing provisions with regard to voluntary donations to political parties needs amendment? If yes, what mechanism should be developed to ensure accuracy and transparency in the process of giving and taking of donations? Before the Delhi Assembly election last month, it was alleged that Arvind Kejriwal led-AAP had received funding from dubious companies in March, 2014. AAP had received four cheques of Rs50 lakh each from different companies, which had allegedly converted the black money into white through donations to political parties.In March last year, the Delhi High Court had found BJP and Congress guilty of illegally receiving foreign funds in violation of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).The leading parties, however, have moved apex court challenging the high court order and the court is yet to take a final decision.Pursuant to a reference from Supreme Court in a PIL, the commission last year had proposed that the MPs and MLAs should be disqualified after the charges were framed against them for the offences which provide five year or above sentence in the criminal cases.Besides dealing with the existing provisions with regard to voluntary donations to political parties, the panel is also to give its report on the issues like Opinion and exist poll shown by the media and paid news.What measures need to be taken within the constitutional framework of free speech, where print or electronic media owned or controlled by political parties, candidates or vested interests, directly or indirectly, broadcast prejudiced news in such a manner so as to influence free and fair elections ?In addition, the panel has to give report on the issues whether there should at all be State funding of elections of a candidate or political party and what should be the criteria and quantum of funding if at all it is allowed. Whether any restriction on governmental advertisements highlighting its achievements for a period of six months prior to the date of expiry of the term of the House should be imposed?Whether the official limit of the expenditure incurred on campaigning during the period of election needs to be reviewed, in light of increase in the cost/price index,Whether furnishing of incomplete, false or inaccurate particulars of election expenses should be a ground for disqualification and whether law should be amended to provide that a person shall not contest from more than one constituency at a time?

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Law commission is to give report on political donations soon