New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday ordered all political parties to submit in sealed-cover details of donations received by them through Electoral Bonds till May 15 to the Election Commission.
In an interim order, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked them to furnish names of donors, the amount received through Electoral Bonds along with their bank accounts to the poll panel by May 30.
It said the petition filed by Association for Democratic Reforms challenging validity of Electoral Bonds scheme will be heard in detail later.
The Centre had on Thursday defended before the Supreme Court donors’ anonymity under electoral bonds scheme, saying the new method political funding was a “policy decision” even as the Election Commission questioned it for lack of transparency.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that the purpose behind the electoral bonds was to eliminate use of black money in elections.
“So far, as the electoral bond scheme is concerned, it is the matter of policy decision of the government and no government can be faulted for taking policy decision,” Venugopal said. The court can scrutinise it after polls, he had added.
Venugopal had earlier told the Bench, “We have no policy of state funding of elections. Funds are received from supporters, affluent persons and companies. They all want their political party to win. If their party does not win then they apprehend some repercussions and hence secrecy or anonymity is required.”
Venugopal’s submissions were contested by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing EC, who had said secrecy in the electoral bonds scheme legalised anonymity.
“Anonymity must go. We want transparency. We want reforms. We cannot go one step forward and two steps backwards. We want free and fair polls,” Dwivedi had said.
He, however, had clarified that the EC was not against the scheme as such, but it had opposed anonymity in it.
ADR counsel Prashant Bhushan had termed it a “retrograde” step as it was against the concept of free and transparent elections. Electoral bonds may be the “kick backs” to the ruling political parties and referred to the replies of the poll panel underlining that the changes made in the law will have serious repercussions on the transparent funding of political parties, he had said.
The petitioner has questioned the validity of various amendments made through Finance Act 2017 and Finance Act 2016 in Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Representation of People Act, Reserve Bank of India Act and Foreign Contribution Regulations Act.
Light snowfall in many parts of Kashmir, min temp rises
Many parts of Kashmir received fresh light snowfall on Saturday, leading to an increase in the minimum temperature which brought some relief to the people from the intense cold conditions, the meteorological department said.
A MeT official said the weather would remain generally cloudy in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh Union territories on Saturday with chances of light rain or snow.
“Light snowfall of two to five inches occurred at many places of Kashmir, hilly areas of Jammu and on the higher reaches of Ladakh,” he said.
The official said the weather would remain generally cloudy in both the Union territories on Saturday.
“A spell of widespread light to moderate snowfall is likely to occur during January 6 to 7 evening,” he said.
The official said the fresh snowfall brought some relief to the residents in the Valley from the intense cold conditions as the night temperature showed improvement.
Srinagar city recorded a low of minus 0.1 degree Celsius Friday night over three degrees up from minus 3.7 degrees Celsius the previous night.
The official said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 6.5 degrees Celsius two degrees up from the previous night.
The night temperature at Pahalgam resort, which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, settled at a low of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius over seven degrees up from minus 10.0 degrees Celsius Thursday night, he said.
The official said Qazigund the gateway town to the valley – in south Kashmir recorded a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius up over six degrees from the previous night’s minus 7.0 degrees Celsius.
Kokernag town, also in south, recorded a low of minus 2.1 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in north, registered the minimum temperature at 0.8 degree Celsius, the official said.
The mercury in Leh in Ladakh settled at a low of minus 18.3 degrees Celsius, he said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and minimum temperatures drop considerably.
‘Chillai-Kalan’ began on December 21 and it will end on January 31. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
Militants hurl grenade at CRPF personnel in Srinagar
Suspected militants hurled a grenade at Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Kawdara locality in Srinagar on Saturday, resulting in damage to several vehicles, police said.
However, there was no immediate report of any casualty or injury, they said.
A grenade was hurled by militants to target the CRPF personnel posted in Kawdara locality of the interior area of the city in the afternoon, police said.
The area was cordoned off immediately after the explosion and further details are awaited.
I-League: Chennai City goes down to Real Kashmir
Real Kashmir downed the reigning champion Chennai City FC 2-1 at the TRC Turf Ground on Thursday. The match was the first big sporting event in the valley since it became a union territory.
Danish Farooq Bhat opened the scoring for Real Kashmir in the 22nd minute before Bazie Armand doubled the lead lie minutes later.
Syed Suhail Pasha’s second half goal halved the deficit for Chennai City but Real Kashmir held on to its lead for its first win of the season. The three points lifted the home side above the visitor into seventh place.
Chennai City hasn’t made a convincing defence of its crown having picked up just five points in as many games.
There were security concerns in the lead up to the game due to the abrogation of Article 370 and the ensuing lockdown in the valley.
The match wasn’t telecast on the official broadcaster DSport. “Due to the ongoing internet connectivity issues in the Kashmir region, today’s match between @ChennaiCityFC & @realkashmirfc will not be telecasted on DSPORT,” DSport posted on its official Twitter page.