New Delhi, Nov 29: BJP and Congress today withdrew their respective appeals from the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court verdict holding them prima facie guilty of violating the law on foreign funding. The counsel representing the political parties informed the apex court that in view of the 2010 amendment made in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), they cannot be held liable for receiving alleged foreign funds in violation of the law.
“The petitions are dismissed as withdrawn,” a bench comprising Justices J S Khehar, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar said when senior advocates Shyam Divan and Kapil Sibal, representing BJP and Congress respectively, sought to withdrew the petitions. Divan said that the 2010 amendment in the FCRA provides that a contribution to a political party is not a foreign contribution if an Indian holds 50 per cent or more shares in that firm. He further said that the Indian subsidiary of a company, registered in foreign country can donate funds and those donations cannot be regarded as foreign contribution in view of the changed law.
Earlier, on November 22, Congress, which had challenged the Delhi HC verdict, sought time from the apex court to clarify the effect of the amendment brought this year to the FCRA in their matter. Congress had told the bench that amendment introduced in February this year has retrospective effect and their appeal against the Delhi High Court judgement has become infructuous. The amendment brought in the 2010 Act is aimed at easing the flow of donations from foreign companies in the name of corporate social responsibility.
The high court, in its judgement pronounced on March 28, 2014, had said that by receiving donations from UK-based Vedanta Resources’ subsidiaries, the two mainstream political parties had violated the law concerned. It had also directed the Centre and Election Commission to take appropriate action against them within six months.