A PUBLIC interest litigation (PIL) seeking transparency in donations received by political parties came up for hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday.

In his petition which came up for hearing before the division bench comprising Justices SS Saron and Lisa Gill, advocate H C Arora has sought quashing of some provisions of the Income Tax Act,1961, as well as of the Representation of People Act, 1951, which permit political parties not to maintain record of the of donors who donate funds to political parties up to Rs 20,000.

The petitioner also pointed out an analysis report submitted by the Association for Democratic Reforms on June 3 disclosing that 51 per cent of collections of funds by political parties is shown to comprise smaller donations up to Rs 20,000 per donor for which they are not required to maintain particulars of donors.

The petitioner also submitted that the Supreme Court has also disapproved of these provisions in various judgments and had even gone to the extent of observing, “it is certainly not a good practice. It leaves a lot of scope for soiling the purity of elections by money influence. It is appropriate therefore, for Election Commission of India to intervene and prescribe by rules the requirement for political parties to maintain correct account of such donations.”

The court on Wednesday allowed Punjab’s Additional Advocate General Randhir Singh to assist the court since he volunteered.

The case will now come up for hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on December 14.

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