The Supreme Court in an interim order has refused to stay the Electoral bonds scheme of the government and put up the matter for final disposal later. The court directed all political parties to furnish all the details regarding the bonds to the Election Commission in a sealed envelope by May 30, clearly mentioning details of money received by them. The court said this was an interim arrangement to not to tilt the balance in favour of one political party.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Friday hailed the interim order of the Supreme Court on the electoral bond scheme, saying the court has “clearly stated (that) transparency is the basic principle of electoral funding”.
A CPI-M statement said it noted, “positively the interim order passed by the Supreme Court on the electoral bond scheme initiated by the Modi government”.
It said the changes in the law which were rushed without a proper and comprehensive discussion in Parliament was aimed at removing the limits of corporate funding of political parties, particularly at the time of elections, while making it completely anonymous.
“The changes would have made the entire system prone to crony capitalism with a clear basis for quid pro quo with the ruling party,” it added.
The government was opposed to making the funding transparent. The Attorney General told the Supreme Court: “It is not voters’ concern to know where the money comes from. Transparency cannot be looked as a mantra of the country.”
The CPI-M statement said: “Today’s interim judgement has brought in some degree of accountability by making it mandatory for the political parties to place their collection from electoral bonds and the details thereof to the Election Commission by May 30.
“The interim order promised that the seriousness of the issue and its bearing on the very nature of our democracy warrants more in-depth examination.
“The court has clearly stated that transparency is the basic principle of electoral funding. People have the right to know which party has received how much and from whom.”
The CPI-M said it was happy that the legal battle, in which it itself is a petitioner, “has yielded some positive result as of now” to make electoral funding completely transparent and free of corporate influence towards breaking the corporate-ruling party nexus.
The court said the issues related to Electoral Bonds were weighty and would have a tremendous bearing on the sanctity of the election process. “Such weighty issues can’t be addressed in a short hearing.”
The bonds came into operations through amendments brought in through the Finance Act 2016-17.
The apex court passed the order on the legality of the bonds after completing hearing of arguments from the Centre and petitioners.
The petitioners have moved the court seeking either a stay on the scheme or a transparent alternative of funding of political parties.
BSP supremo Mayawati called the Supreme Court interim ruling on electoral bonds “a shameful defeat” for the BJP which it said will now have to reveal from where it gets its major donations.
The Bahujan Samaj Party leader tweeted that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had suffered “another major jolt and a shameful defeat” in the apex court.
She said the BJP will have to tell the Election Commission how it gets such a vast amount of donations from industrialists. (IANS)