The Election Commission of India informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that they have the information about the donations received by various political parties. These have been submitted in sealed covers and reveal the details about the donations in the form of Electoral Bonds. All the political parties ranging from national, state, registered and unrecognised parties have submitted the details to EC.
This comes as the Supreme Court had asked the political parties to submit the details regarding the donations received through electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India in a sealed cover. The SC order said, “All the political parties who have received donations through Electoral Bonds to submit to the Election Commission of India in sealed cover detailed particulars of the donors as against the each Bond; the amount of each such bond and the full particulars of the credit received against each bond, namely, the particulars of the bank account to which the amount has been credited and the date of each such credit.”
Apart from the funding details through electoral bonds, the Commission has also attached the list of political parties who have submitted their annual audit reports to the poll panel which shows audited annual accounts of the political parties. The Commission's affidavit came on an application filed by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) seeking a stay on the implementation of the Electoral Bond Scheme, for the purpose of donations to political parties, notified by the Central government on January 2, 2018. Last month, a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde had refused to stay the implementation of Electoral Bonds but sought response from the poll panel.
The application was filed in the earlier pending PIL of ADR which had challenged the validity of the scheme and sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds stay or the names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process. "Electoral Bonds Scheme has opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies which can have serious repercussions on the Indian democracy."
"The Finance Act of 2017 had introduced the use of electoral bonds which is exempt from disclosure under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, opening doors to unchecked, unknown funding to political parties. The said amendments have also removed the existing cap of 7.5 per cent of net profit in the last 3 years on campaign donations by companies and have legalised anonymous donations," the application stated.