'Restriction on poll-funding is laudable', ace Supreme Court lawyer

Donors like business houses do not want their names to be revealed, which was hindering the process of transparency.

Sairaj Iyer

Legendary tax-lawyer Dinesh Vyas believes that cash-capping of political donations at Rs. 2000 will help in bringing better transparency and control corruption. Vyas a Senior Advocate at Supreme Court, was speaking at a post-budget analysis organised by the Indian Merchants Chamber at Mumbai. “Political parties will have to maintain accounts, file returns, in addition to these restrictions and controls,” he said.

He believed that the scheme is also innovative as it involves issuance of electoral bonds which would further help retain the secrecy of donors. “Donors like business houses do not want their names to be revealed, which was hindering the process of transparency. Now with the announcement of issuance of electoral bonds controlled by RBI, subscribed either by cheque or digital modes will ensure transparency and control corruption,” he explained.

Tax legend Dinesh Vyas is not new to Corporate India. For those of you who aren’t familiar, he is the author of the book, ‘The Law & Practice of Income Tax’ that is considered to be the bible for Income Tax practitioners. Vyas was also the legal counsel for Vodafone in its 2007 tax case. As an eminent corporate lawyer, he was conferred the “Rashtriya Samman” by Yashwant Sinha, then Finance Minister for being the highest taxpayer in the country during FY 1995 and 1999. 

The ace lawyer commended the government’s revolutionary steps and termed them as 'an open declaration of war’ on corruption, illegal hoarding of cash and support to the cashless and digital economy. The Budget has followed a bold pattern like GST and demonetization. The current budget offers law agencies the power and has clearly put a ceiling limit to cash transactions at Rs.3 lakhs. “This is a comprehensive coverage to bring digital action into plan much faster. It is also a war on absconders, which is aimed to create a psychological impact,” he added.

Mohan Nihalani, President at the All India Importers & Exporters Association opined that the political funding may not have a direct impact on corruption, although it may create more investment avenues but not “essentially transparency”.

Vyas averred that the move of reducing cash funding of political parties to one-tenth of the previous limit and the introduction of electoral bonds are two significant steps towards controlling corruption. He said, “The right spirit in the right atmosphere, if preserved, can save the next generation. 2000 definitely looks laughable, but indeed it is a laudable effort.”

Sairaj Iyer - Feb 03, 2017 12:00 IST