BJP, Congress withdraw appeals in FCRA case

BJP and Congress withdrew appeals against a 2014 Delhi high court verdict that held them guilty of violating the law on foreign funding of political parties


In 2014, the Delhi high court said that the two political parties had violated the FCRA, 1976 by receiving donations from UK-based Vedanta Resources Plc. and its subsidiaries. Photo: Bloomberg
In 2014, the Delhi high court said that the two political parties had violated the FCRA, 1976 by receiving donations from UK-based Vedanta Resources Plc. and its subsidiaries. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress on Tuesday withdrew appeals against a 2014 Delhi high court verdict that held them guilty of violating the law on foreign funding of political parties.

A three-judge bench disposed of the appeal after both the parties cited a recent amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010, that allows them to accept funds from foreign entities.

“In light of the change in law, the appeal is infructuous,” senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal told the court.

Advocate Shyam Diwan, having argued the case on merits for over four hours earlier in the day, then told the court that the BJP is also inclined to withdraw the appeal.

In 2014, the Delhi high court said that the two political parties had violated the FCRA, 1976 by receiving donations from UK-based Vedanta Resources Plc. and its subsidiaries. It also directed the centre and Election Commission to take appropriate action against them within six months.

The 1976 law was replaced by a 2010 law which was amended retrospectively in February this year in a bid to help firms with over 50% of foreign holding, to conduct their Corporate Social Responsibility.

As Mint had reported at the time, the contested amendments have now legalized the use of donations from foreign owned companies to political parties—earlier not permitted under FCRA.

“Now the high court-ordered probe must take its course since the verdict is final. If it does not, we will move a contempt petition,” said senior advocate Jayant Bhushan who appeared for the Association for Democratic Reforms, a Delhi-based non-profit that moved the high court in 2013.

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