Why is lobbying illegal in India?

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Why is lobbying illegal in India?


Walmart says it spent close to Rs.125 Crore for lobbying in India.

Why is it illegal in India? Why don't they make lobbying legal like in US? 


My Answer: 


I have a slightly different view on this. Without  getting into specific semantics - lobbying is not illegal anywhere in  the world. It has existed ever since humans started to form groups with  common needs and wants. You can't stop people from influencing  other people. In a democracy people have a right to support the causes they  feel strongly about. What could be illegal is - how you influence others and not the act of influencing in itself. Lets say you need to influence a decision maker in a public office (maybe for your business or neighborhood or city or something else) -

What is not wrong:
- Hiring professionals to speak at conferences/meetings
- Funding research and paying for publication and distribution of books/reports
- Traveling and staying at hotels to meet and negotiate with decision makers or influencers
- Asking "independent" professional experts for "voluntary" endorsement
- Paying for occasional dinners or rounds of golf (sponsoring a vacation would be too much)

It is obvious that having a little bit of money or influence will help your cause, even though you are following the "letter of the law".  In the recent US Presidential debates, both parties stretched the  statistics to suit their arguments. If you didn't bother to fact-check the details, you could have been "wrongly" influenced.

What is (obviously) wrong:
- Bribe (direct or indirect)
- Paid newspaper articles
- Blackmail
- Conflict of interest (say, my wife does business with the public office that I run)
... etc. etc.

In most cases it is very difficult to differentiate between lobbying and bribing. For example in Quid pro quo, years could pass between the "give" and "take" of favors.

The Walmart case highlighted in this question is a good example to highlight the point I am making. If interested parties (Walmart and people accused) can prove that the money was spent on hiring professionals or doing research then it doesn't qualify as illegal.

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