Apex court turns down plea against political parties

November 14th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj PartyNew Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday refused to take up a lawsuit questioning some political parties availing income tax exemptions without informing the Election Commission about their annual income.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam refused to entertain the plea saying the apex court did not need to take up the issue at this stage.

The lawsuit, filed by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, alleged that several political parties, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), was enjoying income tax exemptions year after year without apprising the poll panel of its annual income.

Other parties enjoying such exemptions included the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), DMK and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

The petitioner also listed the National Conference and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

The petitioner’s counsel Kamini Jaiswal told the court that these parties had failed to apprise the poll panel of their annual income since at least 2005-06.

Other prominent political parties like the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had also not apprised the poll panel of their annual income from various sources in 2006-07, she said.

According to Section 13A of the Income-Tax Act, 1961, the income of political parties from various sources, including those through voluntary individual contributions, are exempt from taxes. However, to enjoy this privilege, political parties have to keep the poll panel abreast of their annual income every year.

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