SC rejects plea challenging tax exemption to political parties

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) In a relief to political parties, the Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a PIL challenging a provision of the Income Tax Act exempting political parties from disclosing the identity of the donors contributing upto Rs 20,000.

Observing that political parties needed money to propagate their “political regime”, a bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar dismissed the PIL seeking the quashing of Section 13 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and Section 29 of the Representation of the People Act 1951 being illegal, unconstitutional, mala fide and against the national interest.

The petitioner, advocate M.L. Sharma had contended that it was a clear case of violation of Article 14 (equality before law) as it amounted to double standards by the government vis-a-vis common man when it comes to unearthing the black money.

While the common men is supposed to “bare it all, answer questions, face harassment even if his money is legitimate but politician enjoys a God-given immunity”, said the PIL.

Sharma had also sought a court-monitored Central Bureau of Investigation probe under the under Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the funding of the political parties and the alleged swelling of their coffers in the wake of demonetisation.