On March 13, 2018, the Parliament’s Lower House, the Lok Sabha, passed without debate two finance bills and 218 amendments. These included funding demands from 99 government ministries and departments.
Using the pandemonium in the Parliament as the justification, the government passed these bills (as money bills) without any discussion whatsoever (through a process known as the ‘guillotine’). The total time taken to pass these bills and amendments was just 30 minutes.
The government had possibly been waiting for this opportunity. Included among the bills was one relating to controversial foreign funding to political parties. The amendment with retrospective effect for 42 years enables all political parties to escape scrutiny of the source of funds, from overseas as required under the FCRA (Foreign Contributions Regulations Act). Many people saw this move as another attempt by legislators to frustrate an earlier Delhi High Court ruling (28-3-2014 judgement) requiring political parties to come out with details of contributions from overseas donors (http://www.asiaconverge.com/2018/02/aadhaar-npci-uidai-pnb-and-corruption/). It was effectively telling the country that laws apply only to common people. They do not apply to political parties or legislators. Read More…
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