LUCKNOW: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the only national party which has not yet submitted details of the donations above Rs 20,000 to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the financial year 2013-2014. Among the recognised regional parties, only 17 parties out of a total of 45 parties have submitted their contributions reports, states a report of Association of Democratic Reforms released on Tuesday evening.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951 states that "...the report for the financial year under sub-section (1) shall be submitted by the treasurer of a political party or any other person authorised by the political party in this behalf before the due date for furnishing a return of its income of that financial year under Section 139 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961), to the Election Commission.".

As the due date for submission of the parties' audited IT Returns was October 31, 2014, BJP and 28 Regional Recognised parties have defaulted on their donations report by more than a month. It is to be noted that BJP had declared the maximum amount of Rs 83.19 crores from 2941 donations during the Financial Year 2012-13.

The BSP had declared that no donation above Rs 20,000 was received by the party during FY 2013-14 and filed the report on September 13, 2014, while NCP had filed its report on September 17, 2014, and declared donations from 15 donors. CPI had filed its report on September 23, 2014 and declared receiving donations above Rs 20,000 from 44 donors. CPM and INC filed their donations report on the September 30, 2014 and declared donations from 70 and 712 donors respectively.

While analysing the donations reports of National Parties it is seen that INC has not followed the format prescribed by the ECI in declaring its donations details. The column for declaring PAN details of donors is not provided in the contributions reports. Without the PAN details, it would be difficult to link the donors against their donations and hence trace the money trail.

There are 182 donations to INC via bank transfer where the details of bank transfer (name of bank, location, etc) and the PAN details of the donors are unavailable. Also, there are a total of 64 donations made by cash to INC which contain no details of PAN, hence will remain untraceable.

The ADR said that for greater transparency and accountability in the functioning and finances of political parties, it is crucial for the parties to submit their donations statements in the format specified by the ECI apart from filing the same within the time limit set by the ECI. This can be achieved by making the submission of donations statement mandatory for all political parties rather than only for the purpose of claiming tax exemption. ADR also recommends that the details of all donors to Electoral Trusts should also be available in the public domain to increase transparency of funding of political parties.

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