Citizens' Issues
SC moved to know income, expenditures of political parties
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Congress, the BJP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the NCP and the BSP to disclose the complete details of their income as well as expenditure.
 
The PIL by the ADR along with RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal has also sought declaration that all the national and regional political parties are public authorities under the Right to Information Act, 2005 and were accountable under two orders of the Central Information Commissioner of June 2013 and March 2015.
 
Besides seeking the complete details of income and expenditure of the national and regional political outfits, the PIL has sought complete details of donations and funding received by them and the names of the donors making donations to them and to electoral trusts.
 
The Central Information Commission by its June 3, 2013 order had said that six political parties that included the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were public authorities under the RTI and were obliged to disclose information sought under it.
 
In the PIL, the petitioners have sought to highlight the practice wherein political parties in power have a significant de facto control over legislatures and executive through their elected members.
 
It said that schedule 10 of the constitution makes it compulsory for the elected members of legislatures to toe the party line, failing which they stand to suffer disqualification from the membership of the legislatures either in parliament or state assemblies.
 
However, at the same time "important information about political parties, their income, expenditure, complete details of donors are not disclosed by political parties for public scrutiny", the PIL said describing disclosure of such information as the right of information of an average voter.
 
Contending that the political parties were integral to parliamentary democracy as it is they that form the government and run the governance, the PIL referred to the Law Commission's 170th report by which it had recommended transparency in the functioning of political parties specially focusing on their internal democracy, financial transparency and accountability in their working.

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Ponzi scam: Sudipta Sen's close aide arrested
A close aide of ponzi scam tainted Saradha group chief Sudipta Sen, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation from the bustling Sealdah station here on Tuesday, an agency official said.
 
Arindam Das, alias Bumba, was alleged to be mentoring the "illegal" operations of the Saradha group in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, a CBI spokesman said.
 
Das was earlier arrested in mid 2013 when the ponzi farm scam came to light, but got bail after a month.
 
He had gone into hiding since August 2014 after CBI had called him for examination.
 
Later in the day, Das was presented in court, which sent him to CBI custody for seven days.

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Bihar: Protesting Home Guards halt trains, block roads
Thousands of protesting Home Guard personnel in Bihar forcibly halted dozens of trains and blocked major roads on Wednesday to protest the state government's failure to fulfil their demands.
 
The Home Guards have been protesting to press the Bihar government into meeting their demands which include a pay hike and insurance cover.
 
"Trains were halted at Patna, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur, Jehanabad, Munger, Jamui, Ara, Gaya, Supaul and other railway stations by the protestors to enforce their 'chakka jam' today (May 20)," a police official said.
 
Roads, including National Highways 83, 110 and 98, were also blocked.
 
Bihar Homeguards Volunteers Association leader Sidheshwar Prasad told media here that they would intensify their protest from Thursday and launch "jail bharo andolan". 
 
"Our successful chakka jam will be followed by jail bharo andolan," he said. Last week, over 70,000 Home Guard personnel in Bihar began an indefinite strike. 
 
The home guards are demanding increase in pay, accidental coverage during duty and post-retirement benefits from the Bihar government.
 
Association president Arun Kumar Thakur said they will not end their stir until the government fulfils their demands.
 
The home guard personnel have been petitioning the state government for the last few years to fulfill their demands.
 
According to state home department officials, the Home Guard personnel are deployed for traffic regulation, in banks, jail and police stations and at residences.

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