Why is it that under our Indian law only lawyers are held liable for accepting foreign funding and not politicians? Why politicians are mostly never held accountable for accepting foreign funding? Why Centre does not care even for the views of Election Commission of India which has opposed the Centre’s decision to introduce electoral bonds for funding of political parties?
Why Centre does not care that the Election Commission of India had told the Supreme Court that electoral bonds for funding of political parties will have serious repercussions for transparency of political funding and had termed it as a retrograde step? Why Centre ignores that in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India had said that the scheme to allow the parties to accept funds from companies and foreign sources is in violation of law? Why one set of rules for senior lawyers like Ananad Grover and former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising who faced CBI raids at their office and residence and another set of rules for politicians who have the liberty to accept any amount from foreign funding in the form of electoral bonds?
Why politicians of all parties want that donations made in the form of electoral bond to political parties should be kept out of the ambit of mandatory reporting to poll panel? Why are the views of the Election Commission of India openly disregarded which had categorically said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court that it would allow the parties to accept funds from government companies and foreign sources in violation of law? Are politicians and political parties above the law and above our Constitution and above our country and above our national interests who can do anything whatever they want, whenever they want and wherever they want like they did in 1947 by accepting the partition of India which under no circumstances should have been accepted and not allowing the full merger of Jammu and Kashmir into India and imposing absurd conditions like not allowing any Indian to either settle there or purchase any inch of land there or apply for any government job there and what not thus making a total mockery of our nation and a laughing stock in front of the whole world?
Why Centre cares a damn that the Election Commission of India had way back in 2017 expressed concern and had asked the Centre to re-examine it saying that, “This is a retrograde step as far as transparency of donations is concerned and this proviso need to be withdrawn”? Why Centre overlooks that the affidavit of the Election Commission of India had categorically said that, “The respondent informed the Ministry of Law and Justice that in a situation where contributions received through electoral bonds are not reported, on perusal of the contribution report of the political parties, it cannot be ascertained whether the political party has taken any donation in violation of provisions under Section 29B of the Representation of the People Act, which prohibits the political parties from taking donations from government companies and foreign sources”? Why can’t politicians and political parties be more transparent just like they expect lawyers to be more transparent and disclose the source of donation and the total amount of donation? Have they got to hide anything? If not, then why are they afraid to make everything public just like they expect lawyers to make everything public?
Why Centre decided that the system of corporate donations be made correspondingly secretive by removing the requirement of disclosure of the names of political parties to whom contributions have been made by amendment to the Company Act, 2013 which culminated in it being challenged and a batch of petitions were filed in the Apex Court? Why Centre ignores that the petition had said that, “In effect, at both ends of the transaction, neither the contributor nor the recipient of the funds is required to disclose the identity of the other. The inevitable consequence of these amendments is the destruction of the principle underlying Article 19(1)(a) and the concept of democratic institutions”?
Why Centre also ignores that while referring to amendment in Foreign Regulation Contribution Act by which political parties were allowed to receive donation from foreign companies which are having majority stake in Indian companies, the Election Commission of India had said that, “This would allow unchecked foreign funding of political parties in India which could lead to Indian policies being influenced by foreign companies”? Can anyone of us ever imagine how dangerous this is? Will it not be correct to say that this would again allow foreign companies to indirectly first start controlling India just like East India Company started doing in Mughals rule in India? How can Centre allow all this under its very nose?
Why Centre ignores that the affidavit by Election Commission of India had said that, “The respondent had informed the Ministry of Law and Justice that certain provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 and the corresponding amendments carried out in the Income Tax Act, the Representation of the People Act and the Companies Act will have serious repercussions/impact on the transparency aspect of political funding of political parties”? Why can’t Centre be more transparent on this? Why only senior lawyers like Indira Jaising and Anand Grover expected to display total transparency in all their dealings? Should we be proud of it?
Not surprising that apart from Opposition MPs condemning the raid on the offices and residence of most respected and senior Supreme Court lawyers of India – Anand Grover and Indira Jaising even the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) have also condemned the raid on the two lawyers and Sam Zarifi who is Secretary General of ICJ said that, “This raid seems designed to harass and intimidate two tireless advocates of Constitutional and international rights in India. The Indian government must immediately cease harassment of the Lawyers Collective and its founders Anand Grover and Indira Jaising.”
It is this same Indira Jaising who ensured that a brave retired soldier of Indian Army like Kargil war veteran Honorary Captain Mohammad Sanaullah who after more than 30 years of distinguished service and winning President’s certificate also and even after retirement joined the Border wing of the Assam State Police yet was thrown most shamelessly in ‘Detention Centre’ could come out in the open once again and it is because of this that I hold her in highest esteem! Why is accountability demanded only from lawyers alone and not from politicians? Why politicians even after beating someone are debarred permanently from becoming an PM or MLA like we see in the case of other services?
Why politicians and in particular Centre does not listen to what the former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi had said that, “The electoral bonds scheme of Narendra Modi government has legalised and legitimised crony capitalism and taken away transparency from political funding?” He had warend of the perils of corporate donating money to political parties without any cap on the amount as a percentage of its profits. He also had rightly said that, “Earlier no company could donate more than 7.5% of their last three years profit, that limit has been taken away altogether. The provisions of Electoral Bonds scheme allows the companies to donate ‘100 percent’ of their profits. Obviously there is no free lunch…if they give money they want something back…they will be running the country.” Is this the main reason that foreign investment is being ushered in all the fields on the ground that we will get more profit?
Is it because of this relentless foreign funding that Centre is taking some most absurd decisions like earlier it took of withdrawing stone pelting cases against about 10,000 Kashmiri stone pelters, declaring “Ramzan ka ceasefire” for terrorists and Pakistan which allowed them to kill our soldiers with impunity and behead them and take away their head to be used as football to play match between terrorists and soldiers of Pakistani Army? Is it because of this foreign funding that interlocutors are appointed for holding talks and dialogues with representatives of various terror groups in North east and other parts of the country? Is it because of this foreign funding that India repeatedly keeps engaging Pakistan and keeps trusting Pakistan inspite of its soldiers losing their lives while fighting Paksitani soldiers or terrorists trained and sent by Pakistan to India?
Is it because of this foreign funding that Centre is proceeding ahead with Kartarpur Corridor knowing it fully well that it would be used for carrying out anti-India agenda as many senior former Army Generals like Maj Gen (retd) SP Sinha have pointed out openly in many news channels with full fury and asked that, “How can religion be above nation? How can we compromise so easily with our national security”? When we know that Pakistan is fully backing Khalistani movement then why Centre is allowing them to further foment trouble in India by allowing Sikhs to travel there and get radicalized which will only foment more terror in India?
How can Centre ignore that Khalistani terror leaders like Gopal Chawla were included in the Pakistani panel formed to interact with India and when he was removed he was replaced with another person who too had links with Khalistani terrorists? When Centre has closed all trade with Pakistan then why is it opening Kartarpur Corridor with Pakistan thus directly playing in the hands of foreign powers like UK, Canada and US in whose soil we regularly see anti-India propaganda being carried out openly like “Khalistan Referendum 2020” etc over which many Army Generals like Maj Gen (retd) GD Bakshi have expressed their strongest displeasure?
This is why I very strongly believe that politicians too must be held fully accountable and should account for every pie which they get from different sources. If the income of any politician suddenly rises so much which he/she can’t explain then CBI must raid them also and they too should be sent to jail! Why only senior and most distinguished lawyers of India like Indira Jaising and Anand Grover are alone targeted? Centre must come clean on this!
Let us be very clear: Centre did not get such a huge mandate from people to grant more and more dangerous concessions to Pakistan in the form of “Kartarpur Corridor” very conveniently ignoring what most Army Generals say openly that, “Trust a snake but never trust Pakistan as it has already bitten you more than thousand times but the standard reply of our politicians is that let us give ‘Pakistan’ and ‘Peace’ one more chance very conveniently ignoring the blind hatred which Pakistan nurtures for our nation and our soldiers like Kulbhushan Jadhav whom it is not ready to leave under any circumstances”! If Centre does not mend its ways soon then people will say more vociferously that, “Politicians are more dangerous than Pakistan itself who stay in India and get everything from India yet bat for Pakistan on one specious ground or the other”!
There can be no two opinions that politicians too like lawyers must also be held fully liable for all the money they get and for all the acts which they do! Only then can we call ourselves a true democracy in the real sense!
Why should politicians be always exempted fully from all sorts of liability? Are we not making a mockery of our law and Constitution which treats everyone as equal as envisaged under Article 14? Why should they not be held accountable for all the donation that they get?
Why should the CBI always function under politicians only? It is high time now and CBI must be freed completely from all political control of any kind! No doubt that the earlier this is done, the better it shall be!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkehra,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.