Conflict of interest in the government hampers implementation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) as political parties which violate this law are part of the ruling establishment, an NGO told the Delhi High Court today.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, which was hearing a PIL seeking setting up of an independent body free from political interference to enforce the FCRA saying its implementation seemed to be strict on NGOs but not on politicians.
The NGO, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), also told the court that FCRA should be kept out of the reach of political masters who could exert undue influence on the executive to act or not act.
Appearing for ADR, advocate Prashant Bhushan claimed it has been found that both BJP and Congress were violating the provisions of the regulations and were beneficiaries of foreign contribution.
“If these political parties (BJP and Congress) which are beneficiaries of foreign contribution and form the government or are part of the coalition, then there will be a conflict of interest. How can the government take action against its own party for violations of the regulations under the FCRA,” Bhushan asked.
Hence, to ensure effective enforcement of FCRA, an independent body like the Election Commission of India should be formed, he said.
The bench posted the matter for further hearing on November 24, asking the Centre to file its reply to the PIL.
The plea has alleged that the process of enforcement of FCRA seems to be not transparent and clouded with executive discretion.
It further claimed that despite a high court judgement last year holding the BJP and Congress prima facie guilty of violation of FCRA provisions, the government had not taken any action. This, it said, demonstrated the need for an independent body to administer and enforce the FCRA.
“This would not only bring uniformity, continuity and consistency but also keep FCRA out of the reach of political masters, who could exert undue influence on the executive for favourable interpretation and action/inaction based on convenience for obvious reasons. Justice should not only be done but also be seen to have been done,” the plea had said.
( Source – PTI )