India

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Question Value
1. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to political parties?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    "Political parties entitled to accept contribution-Provided that no political party shall be eligible to accept any contribution from any foreign source defined under clause (e) of section 2 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976" (Representation of the People Act, 1951)

    "No foreign contribution shall be accepted by any--political party or office bearer" (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010)

    Even when foreign contribution to political parties is banned, the Government of India changed the definition of a foreign company by amending the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act, 2010 through the Finance Bill 2016. 

    The amendments include the following: 

    “Provided that where the nominal value of share capital is within the limits specified for foreign investment under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, or the rules or regulations made thereunder, then, notwithstanding the nominal value of share capital of a company being more than one-half of such value at the time of making the contribution, such company shall not be a foreign source" (Finance Bill 2016).

    Owing to a retroactive amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) 2010 through the Finance Bill 2016, the foreign funds received by political parties after September 26, 2010, were validated whereas the funds before this date could still come under scrutiny. To fix this lacuna, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) government introduced another amendment in the 2018 Finance Act, to cover the period beginning August 5, 1976—the date the original FCRA law came into existence.

     

     

  • Source

    Representation of the People Act, 1951. 

    Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

    Finance Bill 2016. 

    Finance Act, No. 13 of 2018, http://egazette.nic.in/writereaddata/2018/184302.pdf  , archived at https://perma.cc/UE8P-RNKW .

    Ahmad, Tariq (2019) Regulation of Foreign Involvement in Elections, The Law Library of Congress. Available at https://www.loc.gov/law/help/elections/foreign-involvement/india.php  (Accessed: 30 March 2020).

     

     

     

2. Is there a ban on donations from foreign interests to candidates?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Even when foreign contribution to candidates is banned, the Government of India changed the definition of a foreign company by amending the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act, 2010 through the Finance Bill 2016. 

    The amendments include the following: 

    “Provided that where the nominal value of share capital is within the limits specified for foreign investment under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, or the rules or regulations made thereunder, then, notwithstanding the nominal value of share capital of a company being more than one-half of such value at the time of making the contribution, such company shall not be a foreign source"

    Source: Finance Bill 2016. 

  • Source

    "Foreign contribution should not be accepted by any candidate"

    Source: Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010. 

3. Is there a ban on corporate donations to political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    Companies in existence for less than three financial years are banned from donations. 

    Source: The Companies Act, 2013, Section 182 (1) 

  • Source

    "Every political party is entitled to accept contribution offered to it by any person or company voluntarily, other than a Government company."

    Source:  Section 29B, Representation of the People Act, 1951

4. Is there a ban on corporate donations to candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    Companies in existence for less than three financial years are banned from donations. 

    Source: The Companies Act, 2013

  • Source

    "The candidates can raise fund from any source, as there is no restriction under the law on fund-raising by the candidates, nor there is any requirement to maintain and disclose the names and addresses of the persons from whom they are receiving the fund."

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

5. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "Every political party is entitled to accept contribution offered to it by any person or company voluntarily, other than a Government company."

    Source:  Section 29B, Representation of the People Act, 1951

6. Is there a ban on donations from Trade Unions to candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    No mention of excluding Trade Unions.

  • Source

    "The candidates can raise fund from any source, as there is no restriction under the law on fund-raising by the candidates, nor there is any requirement to maintain and disclose the names and addresses of the persons from whom they are receiving the fund."

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

7. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to political parties?
  • CodeNo, but specific limit
  • Comment

    In addition, there is provision of electoral bonds which increase anonymity. 

    "A notified bank will be issuing those bonds. Any donor can buy those bonds using cheque or digital money. These bonds can be given to the political party. Every recognised political party will have to notify one bank account in advance to the Election Commission and these can be redeemed in only that account in a very short time. These bonds will be bearer in character to keep the donor anonymous [emphasis added]."

    Source: Indian Express [2017], Present system has failed, we are experimenting with a new system, says Arun Jaitley, February2, 2017

  • Source

    "No donation exceeding two thousand rupees is received otherwise than by an account payee cheque drawn on a bank or an account payee bank draft or use of electronic clearing system through a bank account or through electoral bond"

    Source: Finance Bill,2017. 

8. Is there a ban on anonymous donations to candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    There is no ban on donations to individual candidates. However, there is a spending limit applied on individual candidates. 

  • Source

    BLANK

9. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to political parties?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "Every political party is entitled to accept contribution offered to it by any person or company voluntarily, other than a Government company."

    Source:  Section 29B, Representation of the People Act, 1951

10. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with government contracts to candidates?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "Every political party is entitled to accept contribution offered to it by any person or company voluntarily, other than a Government company."

    Source:  Section 29B, Representation of the People Act, 1951

11. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with partial government ownership to political parties?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    "For the purposes of this Act , Government company means any company in which not less than
    fifty-one per cent of the paid-up share capital is held by the Central Government, or by any State
    Government or Governments, or partly by the Central Government and partly by one or more
    State Governments and includes a company which is a subsidiary of a Government company as
    thus defined."

    Source: The Companies Act, 2013

  • Source

    "Every political party is entitled to accept contribution offered to it by any person or company voluntarily, other than a Government company."

    Source:  Section 29B, Representation of the People Act, 1951

12. Is there a ban on donations from corporations with partial government ownership to candidates?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    "For the purposes of this Act , Government company means any company in which not less than
    fifty-one per cent of the paid-up share capital is held by the Central Government, or by any State
    Government or Governments, or partly by the Central Government and partly by one or more
    State Governments and includes a company which is a subsidiary of a Government company as
    thus defined."

    Source: The Companies Act, 2013

  • Source

    "Every political party is entitled to accept contribution offered to it by any person or company voluntarily, other than a Government company."

    Source:  Section 29B, Representation of the People Act, 1951

13. Is there a ban on the use of state resources in favour or against a political party or candidate?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    For example, the Handbook for candidates states that candidates are not permitted any assistance from any government servant to help the candidates prospects in the election. 

  • Source

    "Any assistance from any government servant to help your prospects in the election, except that a government servant may, if he so desires, cast his vote for you"

     

    Source: Election Commission of India [2009] Handbook of Candidates

14. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period?
  • CodeYes, for legal persons
  • Comment

    A company is prohibited from donating funds exceeding 7.5 per cent of its average net profits during the three immediately preceding financial years. 

  • Source

    "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Act, a company, other than a Government company and a company, which has been in existence for less than three financial years, may contribute any amount directly or indirectly to any political party: provided that the amount referred to in sub-section (I) or, as the case may be, the aggregate of the amount which may be so contributed by the company in any financial year shall not exceed seven and a half per cent of its average net profits during the three immediately preceding financial years". 

    Source: Company Act,2013. 

15. If there is a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during a non-election specific period, what is the limit?
  • Code Natural persons: no limit. Legal persons: 7.5 % of average net profits.
  • Comment
  • Source
16. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election?
17. If there is a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a political party during an election, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment
  • Source
18. Is there a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    There is no ban on donations to individual candidates. However, there is a spending limit applied to individual candidates. 

  • Source

    BLANK

19. If there is a limit on the amount a donor can contribute to a candidate, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

20. Is there a limit on the amount a candidate can contribute to their own election campaign?
  • CodeSpecific limit for candidates
  • Comment

    A candidate is not free to spend as much as he likes on his election. The law prescribes that the total election expenditure shall not exceed the maximum limit prescribed under Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. It would also amount to a corrupt practice under sec 123 (6) of R. P. Act, 1951.

  • Source

    Source: Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2014

    Source: Rule 90 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961

    Source:Sec 123 (6) of Representation of People's Act, 1951

21. Is there a limit on in-kind donations to political parties?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

22. Is there a limit on in-kind donations to candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    There is no ban on donations to individual candidates. However, there is a spending limit applied to individual candidates. 

  • Source

    BLANK

23. Is there a ban on political parties engaging in commercial activities?
  • CodeNo data
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

24. Is there a ban on political parties taking loans in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

25. Is there a ban on candidates taking loans in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

26. Is there a ban on donors to political parties/candidates participating in public tender/procurement processes?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

27. Are there provisions requiring donations to go through the banking system?
  • CodeSometimes
  • Comment

    Election Commission of India has introduced electoral bonds. 

    "A notified bank will be issuing those bonds. Any donor can buy those bonds using cheque or digital money. These bonds can be given to the political party. Every recognised political party will have to notify one bank account in advance to the Election Commission and these can be redeemed in only that account in a very short time. These bonds will be bearer in character to keep the donor anonymous [emphasis added] (Indian Express, 2017)"

    Expenditure exceeding Rs. 10,000/- (Ten Thousand) in connection with an election, consisting of a- single transaction or an aggregate of transactions, entered into with a single person/entity during the entire poll period shall not be incurred by a candidate/political party unless the payment in respect to the same is made by way of an account payee cheque or draft on a bank or account payee bank draft or by RTGS/NEFT or any other electronic. mode linked to the bank account of the candidate. 

    Moreover, in respect of donations/contributions in cash received by the candidates from a single entity/person in a single or multiple transactions shall not exceed to Rs. 10,000/-' However, in the case of political parties the receipt from donations/contributions shall continue to be governed by the existing provisions of Section 29C of the R. P. Act, 1951. 

  • Source

    Indian Express [2017], Present system has failed, we are experimenting with a new system, says Arun Jaitley, February 2, 2017

    The Election Commission of India (2019). Clarification - Revision of threshold Election Expenditure/Donation through cash transaction in a single day by the candidates/political parties above Rs. 10,000/- by Cheque, DD, RTGS/NEFT or other electronic mode etc. Available at: https://eci.gov.in/files/file/9345-clarification-revision-of-threshold-election-expendituredonation-through-cash-transaction-in-a-single-day-by-the-candidatespolitical-parties-above-rs-10000-by-cheque-dd-rtgsneft-or-other-electronic-mode-etc/  (Accessed: 02 April 2020).

     

Question Value
28. Are there provisions for direct public funding to political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    The list of permitted sources of income does not include any mention of public funding and no information about public funding can be found.

  • Source

    "Despite similar proposals in India, there is currently no direct public funding of elections."

    Source: Law Commission of India [2015], Electoral Reforms: Report No.255, Government of India. 

29. What are the eligibility criteria for political parties to receive public funding?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

30. What is the allocation calculation for political parties to receive public funding?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

31. What are the provisions on 'ear marking' direct public funding to political parties (how it should be used)?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

32. Are there provisions for free or subsidized access to media for political parties?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "39A. Allocation of equitable sharing of time.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Election Commission shall, on the basis of the past performance of a recognised political party, during elections, allocate equitable sharing of time on the cable television network and other electronic media in such manner as may be prescribed to display or propagate any election matter or to address the public in connection with an election."

     

    Source: Representation of People's Act,1951

33. What criteria determine allocation for free or subsidized access to media for political parties?
  • CodeEqual
  • Comment

    The past performance of a recognised political party is not mentioned in the law. 

  • Source

    "39A. Allocation of equitable sharing of time.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Election Commission shall, on the basis of the past performance of a recognised political party, during elections, allocate equitable sharing of time on the cable television network and other electronic media in such manner as may be prescribed to display or propagate any election matter or to address the public in connection with an election."

    Source: Representation of People's Act, 1951

34. Are there provisions for free or subsidized access to media for candidates?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

35. Are there provisions for any other form of indirect public funding?
  • CodeTax relief
  • Comment

    There is also free supply of copies of electoral rolls and identity slips of electors to candidates. 

  • Source

    "Any income of a political party which is chargeable under the head, “Income from house property” or “Income from other sources” or “Capital gains” or any income by way of voluntary contributions received by a political party from any person, shall not be included in the total income of the previous year of such political party "

    Source: Section 13A of the Income-Tax Act, 1961

36. Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties tied to gender equality among candidates?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

37. Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

Question Value
38. Is there a ban on vote buying?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "The following shall be deemed corrupt practices for the purposes of this ACT: 'Any gift, offer or promise by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent of any gratification, to any person whomsoever, with the object, directly or indirectly of inducing an elector to vote or refrain from voting at an election" 

    "For the purposes of this clause the term "gratification" is not restricted to pecuniary gratification or gratifications estimable in money and it includes all forms of entertainment and all forms of employment for reward but it does not include the payment of any expenses bona fide incurred at, or for the purpose of, any election and duly entered in the account of election expenses referred to in section 78."

    Source: Representation of People's Act, 1951. 

39. Are there limits on the amount a political party can spend?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "Unlike the limit of election expenditure imposed on a contesting candidate by the Union of India through the ECI, there is no limit on the expenditure that a party can incur during its election campaigns."

    Source: Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) [2012] FAQs on Election Expenditure of Political Parties​. 

40. If there are limits on the amount a political party can spend, what is the limit?
  • CodeNot applicable
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

41. Are there limits on the amount a candidate can spend?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    The maximum limit of expenses for candidates is different between parliamentary and assembly elections. It also differs for some of the Indian states.

    The expenditure ceiling is a maximum of 7 million rupees (or $ 106,000) and 2.8 million rupees ($42,000) for parliamentary and assembly elections, respectively (although the precise limit varies by the size of the state). Any expenditure by a third party (to include political parties) in connection with a candidate is attributed to the candidate, but third parties can spend without limit on promoting the “party’s program”(Vaishnav, p.30).

  • Source

    Reuters (2019) Factbox: India's elections - Rules on campaign financing and spending. Available at:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-election-spending-factbox/factbox-indias-elections-rules-on-campaign-financing-and-spending-idUSKCN1S7398 (Accessed: 10 April 2020).

    Vaishnav, M. (2017). When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics.  Yale University Press. P.30.

42. If there are limits on the amount a candidate can spend, what is the limit?
  • Code 7 million rupees (or $ 106,000) and 2.8 million rupees ($42,000)
  • Comment
  • Source
43. Are there limits on the amount that third parties can spend on election campaign activities?
  • CodeSpending limit for party/candidate includes spending by others on their behalf
  • Comment

    Third party, also known as election agents. In particular, election agent must keep a full account of the election expenses incurred on each item from day to day duly supported by vouchers which should be lodged along with the account of election expenses of the candidates. 

  • Source

    Source: Election Commission of India [2018], Handbook for candidates 

44. Are there limits on traditional media advertising spending in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

45. Are there limits on online media advertising spending in relation to election campaigns?
  • CodeNo
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

46. Do any other restrictions on online media advertisement (beyond limits) exist?
  • CodeNo data
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

Question Value
47. Do political parties have to report regularly on their finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Annually 

  • Source

    "The treasurer of a political party or any other person authorised by the political party in this behalf shall, in each financial year, prepare a report in respect of the following, namely:
    (a) the contribution in excess of twenty thousand rupees received by such political party from any person in that financial year;
    (b) the contribution in excess of twenty thousand rupees received by such political party from companies other than Government companies in that financial year."

    Source: Representation of the People Act, 1951. 

48. Do political parties have to report on their election campaign finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    There is no penal provision if the parties do not submit the report at all or submit an incomplete or incorrect report. The Commission has issued instructions in its transparency guidelines for the political parties that such report submitted should be verified by the Chartered accountant of the Party, but there is no penal provision to ensure this. The Commission puts these reports on its website. 

  • Source

    "The Parties are required to disclose to the Commission, within 75 days of assembly election and 90 days of Loksabha election, the total amount of election expenses incurred by them (As per SC order in Common Cause case)."

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

49. Do candidates have to report on their election campaign finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "Disqualification for failure to lodge account of election expenses. —If the Election Commission is satisfied that a person—
    (a) has failed to lodge an account of election expenses within the time and in the manner required by or under this Act; and
    (b) has no good reason or justification for the failure, the Election Commission shall, by order published in the Official Gazette, declare him to be disqualified and any such person shall be disqualified for a period of three years from the date of the order."

    Source: Representation of the People Act, 1951. 

50. Do third parties have to report on election campaign finances?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Third party, also known as election agents, must keep a full account of the election expenses incurred on each item from day to day duly supported by vouchers which should be lodged along with the account of election expenses of the candidates. 

  • Source

    Source: Election Commission of India [2018] Handbook for candidates

51. Is information in reports from political parties and/or candidates to be made public?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

     

    The following is the website containing the expenditure reports maintained by the Election Commission of India

    Source: http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/PolPar/expenditurereports.aspx 

  • Source

     

    "The Parties are required to disclose to the Commission, within 75 days of assembly election and 90 days of Loksabha election, the total amount of election expenses incurred by them (As per SC order in Common Cause case). But there is no penal provision, if the parties do not submit the report at all or submit incomplete or incorrect report. The Commission has issued instruction in its transparency guidelines for the political parties that such report submitted should be verified by the Chartered accountant of the Party, but there is no penal provision to ensure this. The Commission puts these reports on its website" 

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

     

52. Must reports from political parties and/or candidates reveal the identity of donors?
  • CodeSometimes
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "The parties are neither required to maintain the details, nor required to disclose to the Commission, if the one time contribution made by a person is not more than Rs 20,000/-. They are also not required to disclose total contributions received by them and therefore anonymous donations are neither restricted nor prohibited."

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

53. Must reports from political parties and/or candidates include information on itemized income?
  • CodeNo data
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    BLANK

54. Must reports from political parties and/or candidates include information on itemized spending?
  • CodeYes
  • Comment

    Political party expenditure filing consists of two parts, part A and part B. Both the parts comprise of 22 schedules. Each schedule consists of different expenses the party might encounter. It is further divided between party national headquarters (party HQ) and regional branch headquarters (state party HQ). 

  • Source

    Source: Election Commission of India, Political party expenditure E-file. User Manual. IT cell. 

55. Which institution(s) receives financial reports from political parties and/or candidates?
  • CodeEMB
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "The Parties are required to disclose to the Commission, within 75 days of assembly election and 90 days of Loksabha election, the total amount of election expenses incurred by them (As per SC order in Common Cause case)."

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

56. Which institution(s) is responsible for examining financial reports and/or investigating violations?
  • CodeYes, EMB
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    "The Parties are required to disclose to the Commission, within 75 days of assembly election and 90 days of Loksabha election, the total amount of election expenses incurred by them (As per SC order in Common Cause case)."

    Source: Election Commission of India [2015], Background Paper on Political Finance and Law Commissions Recommendations. 

57. What power is granted to the institution(s) responsible for examining reports and/or investigating violations?
  • CodeCarry out investigation
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by law. The Commission has also the power for removing or reducing the period of such disqualification as also other disqualification under the law.

    Source: Election Commission of India

58. What sanctions are provided for political finance infractions?
  • CodeFines | Prison | Forfeiture | Loss of nomination of candidate | Loss of political rights | Loss of elected office
  • Comment

    BLANK

  • Source

    Sections 3 to 10a of the Representation of the People's Act, 1951

    Source: Representation of the People Act, 1951. 

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