EC supports electoral bonds, seeks transparency: Here's what it told SC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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EC supports electoral bonds, seeks transparency: Here's what it told SC

ByHT Correspondent | Edited by Sameer
Mar 25, 2021 10:14 AM IST

The submission of the poll body came at a crucial juncture during the court’s hearing of a plea moved by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms seeking stay on sale of electoral bonds from April 1 to 10 ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry

The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it supports the existing system of political party funding through electoral bonds but would like the process to be more transparent. Here is all you need to know about the submission:

The Election Commission of India building, Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi. (HT archive)
The Election Commission of India building, Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi. (HT archive)

• It came during the court’s hearing of a plea moved by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) seeking stay on sale of electoral bonds from April 1 to 10 ahead of the assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, and Union Territory of Puducherry.

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• Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for EC said the Commission is supporting electoral bonds and not opposing it.

• The EC said it is also asking for transparency, which the court can consider later.

Also Read | TMC calls on EC to create ‘level-playing field’ in West Bengal

• Electoral bonds promise anonymity, with only the issuing bank, the state-owned State Bank of India being aware of the identity of the purchaser.

• They were notified by the government in January 2018 and were first issued in March 2018.

• A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde recorded the submission of EC and reserved orders on the application filed by ADR.

• While doing so, the Court raised an apprehension of possible misuse of these bonds and the mechanism available with the Centre to remedy the situation.

• This was not the main objection of the petitioner, who was objecting to the very use of the bonds, not their misuse.

• Attorney General KK Venugopal appearing for Centre referred to certain checks and balances.

• He said that parties are required to file their income tax returns each year showing how they have expended the money.

• A political party can face deregistration if it is found to indulge in anti-national or illegal activities.

• Venugopal said the use of bonds is essential for the country as it has curbed black money used in elections.

• For the petitioner, advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted that there was complete anonymity about who purchases these bonds and to whom they are subsequently transferred.

• He read out an earlier affidavit filed by EC in March 2019 where it raised concerns over a lack of transparency in tracking political party donations.

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