The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses from the Central Government and the Election Commission on a PIL challenging government’s move to legalise anonymous donations and relax cap on corporate donations to political parties for election funds.

The petition filed by NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause challenged amendments made by Finance Acts 2017 and Finance Act 2016 - which, they say, have opened doors to unlimited political donations, even from foreign companies thereby legitimising electoral corruption at a huge scale and ensuring complete non-transparency in political funding.

The petition seeks the top court’s intervention and quashing of amendments brought about in the RBI, income tax act, Companies Act and FCRA by 2017 and 2016 finance acts.

The petition says 2017 Finance Act has introduced the use of electoral bonds which is exempt from disclosure under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. The 2016 Finance Act amends the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, allowing foreign companies with subsidiaries in India to fund political parties in India, exposing the Indian politics and democracy to international lobbyists who might want to further their agenda.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGOs, said that the amendment has removed the cap that barred corporates from donating more than 7.5 per cent of their average net profit to a political party.

The NGOs also want a ban on cash donations by any corporate entity to political parties.

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