West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that demonetisation should be “for all” with the “same rules for everyone”, and there should be no exemptions for political parties.
Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley clarified that “political parties have not been granted any exemption post-demonetisation and introduction of Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016”.
He said that the income and donations of political parties “fall in the purview of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act”, and “there is no change in its provisions”.
“Post-demonetisation, no political party can accept donations in 500 and 1000 rupee notes,” he said, adding that “any party doing so would be in violation of law”.
Political parties “enjoy no immunity whatsoever”, he added.
Earlier in the day, Mamata Banerjee, in a series of tweets, said, “They (the government) need to clarify that (demonetisation) means it is (demonetisation) for all. Same rules for everyone. If 500/1000 (currency notes) are illegal tender, then how are they trying to show there is a division (between) common people and political parties.”
“Even the timing of these statements show that there may be an ulterior motive. Is there a motive? Are they trying to give a hidden message to cadre of one political party? Why these confusing and misleading statements now? They must clarify,” she tweeted. “It is most unfortunate how there are confusing and misleading statements coming from senior govt officials,” she said.
Banerjee, who has been extremely critical of the Centre’s demonetisation move, had earlier alleged that the BJP party officers had prior knowledge of the demonetisation scheme and the party had even bought land in the state to invest their ‘black money’. The BJP had refuted the allegations.
Section 13A of Income Tax Act, 1961, grants tax exemption to political parties in respect of their income. This income could be from house property, other sources, capital gains and income by way of voluntary contributions received from any person. However, tax exemption is applicable only if a political party keeps and maintain such books and other documents of the income that are audited by a chartered accountant.