NEW DELHI: Electoral Bonds, which enable anonymous donations to political parties, will be permitted during the election season, according to the Supreme Court which passed an interim order on the issue on Friday. The top court, however, ensured some transparency as it ordered all political parties to disclose the donations they have received through electoral bonds to the Election Commission in sealed covers by May 30.
The court was hearing petitions that challenge the validity of the electoral bonds. The political parties have been asked to disclose names of donors, banks from which the donor credited, and the amount against each donor. The sealed cover will remain in "safe custody" of the Election Commission till further orders are passed by the Supreme Court.
In its order, the Supreme Court also directed the Finance Ministry to reduce the window of purchasing electoral bonds from 10 days to five days in April-May.
A petition had asked for the system of electoral bonds to be stopped for the sake of transparency in the poll process. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, "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 favour of any party."
The government had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 on January 2, 2018. According to the provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. A person can buy electoral bonds, either individually or jointly with other individuals. Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than one per cent of votes polled in last General elections or Assembly Elections, shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds.