Electoral Bonds: Top Court asks parties to submit funding details

Electoral Bonds: Top Court asks parties to submit funding details

Agency News

New Delhi: Electoral bonds, which have become controversial as they enable big anonymous donations to political parties, will not be stopped in the middle of the national election that started on Thursday.

In an interim order, Supreme Court asked all parties contesting the polls to furnish details of funds received through bonds in a sealed cover to the Election Commission by May 30. The details would be in the election body's "safe custody", the top court ruled, putting off its decision on bonds.

A petition by the Association of Democratic Reforms asks for the system to be stopped or for the donors to be disclosed for the sake of transparency in the poll process. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP has received most of the funds flowing through the bonds, according to a court filing by the Election Commission.

In 2017, the government proposed the Electoral bonds as a transparent way for political funding.

"We have considered the matter. We examined the stand by the Election Commission. For the present, it needs hearing and it can't be concluded in a short span of time. The court has to ensure interim arrangement and should not tilt in favour of any party," said a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

The court also directed the finance ministry to reduce the window of the purchase of electoral bonds from 10 days to five in April-May, the period during which staggered national elections are being held.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court had said if the identity of donors buying electoral funds was not known, the government's efforts to check black money in polls would be futile.