SC answers against AG submission on voter right to know source of political funding

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In a petition filed by CPM and NGO Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) challenging the electoral bond scheme, the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Indian Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna on Friday that political parties which have received donations via electoral bonds to “forthwith” submit the details of the bonds received till 15th May 2019 will submit the bond on or before 30th May 2019 to the Election Commission of India in sealed covers which “will remain in the custody of the Election Commission of India and will abide by such orders as may be passed by the Court” which will hear the matter on appropriate date.

The bench has asked the political parties to strictly follow the procedure in order to furnish the details of particular. That political parties shall furnish detailed particulars of the donors as against each bond; the amount of each such bond and the full particulars of the credit received against each 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.

On question of security issue and victimization of donors, the bench said that such weighty issues would require an indepth hearing which cannot be concluded and the issues answered within the limited time that is available before the process of funding through the Electoral Bonds comes to a closure, as per schedule set out in the scheme. It is therefore necessary to ensure that any interim arrangement that may be made would not tilt the balance in favour of either of the parties but that the same ensures adequate safeguards against the competing claims of the parties which are yet to be adjudicated.

The “interim direction” came a day after Attorney General K K Venugopal submission before the bench, said, “transparency cannot be a mantra” and “my opinion is voters have the right to know about their candidates.. why should they (voters) know where the money of political parties is coming from.”