SC notice to Centre on FCRA violation by BJP, Cong

The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Centre three weeks’ time to respond to a plea by the BJP and the Congress, challenging a March 28, 2014 order of the Delhi High Court that held the two parties prima facie guilty of violation of provisions of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) while receiving donations from UK-based Vedanta Resources’ subsidiaries.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked the Union government to file its affidavit on the plea amid advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing Association of Democratic Rights and others, contending it was an open and shut case.

The counsel submitted that the Centre had a conflict of issue in the matter, it had not acted for the last 16 months despite the HC holding both the parties guilty. He contended that the government went on harassing people like activist Teesta Seetalvad and NGO Greenpeace and failed to act against political parties.

The court, however, said that let the parties submit their written response before fixing the case for detailed hearing. The BJP and the Congress had challenged the HC’s judgment which had come on a PIL by a NGO Association for Democratic Reforms and E A S Sarma, a former secretary of the government of India. They had alleged that the two political parties violated the Representation of People’s Act and FCRA by taking donations from government companies and foreign sources.

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