SC directs all political parties to furnish receipts of donations received to EC
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
It said the petition filed by Association for Democratic
Reforms challenging validity of Electoral Bonds scheme will be heard in detail
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.