SC directs parties to give details of donations received via electoral bond

NEW DELHI: Hearing a petition challenging the validity of the electoral bond scheme, the Supreme Court on Friday directed all political parties to furnish details of donations received via these bonds and said that the issue raised in the petition is “vital to fairness” of electoral process.

The SC bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said that all political parties give details of all donations received through electoral bond till date and the bonds they would receive till May 15 to Election Commission in a sealed cover by May 31. The details will include the name of the donors and the amount received till date.

“The transparency and anonymity in donations through electoral bond, raised by petitioner NGO through Prashant Bhushan, raises weighty issues vital to fairness of electoral process,” the bench said in its judgment.

On Thursday, the apex court had observed that if the identity of the purchasers of electoral bonds meant for transparent political funding is not known, then the efforts of the government to curtail black money in elections would be “futile” and reserved its judgment for Friday.

The court’s order came in response to a petition filed by NGO Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). In the petition, the NGO had challenged the validity of the scheme and had sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds be stayed or the names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.

The Centre vehemently supported the scheme saying that the purpose behind it is to eliminate the use of black money in elections and asked the court not to interfere with it at this stage and examine the whether it has worked or not only after the 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,” it told the bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna. (TOI)