New Delhi
Notably the Election Commission of India (ECI), in its letter dated November 19, 2014 issued to the President/General Secretary of all political parties, had stated that it was mandatory for the parties to submit details of their audited report to the Commission.

The due date for submission of annual audited accounts for the parties was November 30, 2014. Out of the six national parties, BSP, CPI, CPM and NCP submitted their audited report whileIndian National Congress (INC) submitted its report under protest stating that unless necessary amendments were made in the RP Act, 1951, the ECI did not have the power to demand such reports from the parties. BJP, in its letter dated July 9, 2015, had requested for 4 weeks' time but is yet to file the required reports.

According to a release by ADR the five national parties, whose IT Returns are available in the public domain, have declared a total income of Rs. 844.71 crores, collected from all over India. INC has shown the highest income amongst the 5 national parties with a total income of Rs. 598.06 crores during FY 2013-14. This formed 70.8% of the total income of the 5 national parties, together during FY 2013-14.

Reating to the protest by the Congress ADR said that while the ECI had issued guidelines to the political parties in order to promote transparency in the parties' functioning and to aid the Commission to conduct free and fair elections, INC's act of submitting its details under protest displayed a lack of enthusiasm from the party in promoting and practicing the desired quality of transparency and accountability in its functioning.

"Those parties playing a decisive role at the national political arena should lead by example rather than curtailing any attempt at transparency," ADR said in a statement.

CPM declared the second highest income of Rs. 121.87 crores which forms 14.43% of the total income of the national parties.

Collection from sale of coupons was one of the major sources of income where INC declared collection of Rs. 477.316 crores while NCP declared collection of Rs. 8.32 crores from the sale of such coupons. A total of Rs. 485.64 crores was collected by INC and NCP, together, via sale of coupons which contributed to 57.49% of the total income of the five national parties.

ADR demanded that full details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the RTI. Some countries where this is done include BhutanNepal, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Bulgaria, the US and Japan. In none of these countries it is possible for 80% of the source of funds to be unknown, but at present it is so in India.

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