Axe Words
K Ramesh Babu

A comprehensive draft bill on regulation of political parties introduced in the conference

ICAI guidelines on income tax returns should be implemented ask the representatives of DMK, AIADMK, INC and other parties.

Inner party democracy part of our political system claims the political parties.

Resolutions passed at the 7th National Conference on Electoral Reforms.

On the second day of the 7th national conference on Electoral and Political Reforms, being organized by Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, a Comprehensive draft bill on regulation of political parties, been formulated under the guidance and supervision of Justice Venkatachaliah, was circulated. This is a preliminary draft that will be finalized after consultations with people around the country. Representatives of various political parties who were part of the panel on political party reforms broadly endorsed need for this Bill and its contents.

Presenting the outcome of the study group commissioned under the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of India S B Zaware, convener of the study group said that every political party is required to submit annual returns to claim the exemption from tax. For this, accounts need to be regularly and accurately audited by chartered accountants. The parties should maintain books of accounting on accrual basis.

“The annual earnings is a public document and as such, should be freely available to the common man,” he said. Right now, these financial documents are prepared and audited, but not submitted or exposed for public review. This should be changed. They should also be published in English in the national newspaper and in the local languages in the regional newspapers, he added.

While he highlighted the importance of financial accountability to bring transparency in the functioning of party, all the party representatives during the session agreed to follow ICAI guidelines on income tax returns.

TKS Elangovan, the spokesperson of DMK claimed that DMK party follows inner party democracy in truest sense claimed spokesperson TKS Elangovan during a session on inner party democracy and financial accountability among political parties organised by National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms here on Sunday.

“As organisation secretary of the DMK, in the DMK, democracy is followed in the truest sense. Office bearers will not be changed before their alloted term of 5 years runs out, except in cases of wrongdoing,” said Elangovan. He further said that the party itself is a family affair. However, one particular family does not dominate. The entire DMK is a family despite that inner-party democracy is not comprimised.

Talking about financial accountability he said that DMK’s accounts are audited by internal auditors and external auditors as well.

Mr V. Maithreyan (AIADMK) talked about the large number of criminals getting elected to the representative bodies. “There are large instances of cash for votes scam. Does this imply that a large section of the electorate is forced to be corrupt?” he questioned. Talking about inner party democracy may be futile since dynastic rule is the order of the day though it is a very important issue to be tackled.

Similar views were echoed by D. Raja (CPI), Mr. Madhavan Kutti (CPI-M) and Mr B S Gnanadesikan(INC),

Resolutions adopted at the conference

The conference concluded with resolutions which are mentioned below:

1. The NGOs and civil society organizations resolved to work in a non-partisan, ethical and transparent manner.

2. They endorsed the need for a comprehensive Bill on Reform of Political parties

3. They endorsed the recommendations prepared by National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on electoral and political reforms

They recognized the emerging threat of control of the State and Government by money power and strongly opposed it.

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