New Delhi: While political parties are required to submit details of those donating over Rs 20,000 in a financial year to them, an analysis by Association of Democratic Reforms has revealed that in many cases, such donations are being received without PAN details and address of donors. Incidentally, the BJP has been the overwhelming recipient of political donations, having received over Rs 915 crore (92.5%) out of the total donation of Rs 985 crore received by the six national parties in two fiscals – 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Political parties are required to furnish the name, address and PAN of the donor along with information about mode of payment and amount contributed by each donor to the Election Commission.
In a report released in January 2014, ADR had noted that between 2004-05 and 2011-12, the national parties received a total of Rs 378.89 crore in political donations. This constituted 87% of the total contribution from known sources.
Interestingly, 98% of donations without PAN and address details went to the BJP.
The association said that the national parties also received Rs 22.59 crore in 347 donations from corporate entities which have no internet presence or whose nature of work is not known.
‘Make parties return funds for which disclosure is incomplete’
In view of these discrepancies, ADR has made a number of recommendations. It said the Supreme Court judgment of September 13, 2013 laid out that no part of a candidate’s affidavit should be left blank. ‘Similarly, no part of the Form 24A submitted by political parties providing details of donations above Rs 20,000, should be blank.’
ADR has demanded that all those donating Rs 20,000 or more should provide their PAN details, record date of donation and submitted in Form 24A. Parties who do not submit the donation statement to the ECI should be heavily penalised and their income should not remain tax exempt.
The organisation has also stated that if parties did not obtain the PAN or address details of corporate donors, the ECI should make the parties return the amount ‘to deter them from providing incomplete information’.
It also suggested that corporate donors should make details of their political contributions available in the public domain through their websites. The group also suggested that the Central Board of Direct Taxes should scrutinise annually the donations received by all national, regional and unrecognised parties to discourage donations from shell companies or illegal entities.