NEW DELHI: Electoral bonds, introduced in 2018 to usher in a culture of clean political funding in the country, maybe defeating the very purpose, according to the Election Commission of India.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court in response to petitions filed by Association for Democratic Reforms and others challenging the electoral bond scheme, Vijay Kumar Pandey, director, Election Commission, said electoral bonds would make political funding opaque. Besides, there would be “serious repercussions on the transparency of political funding”, due to anonymous foreign contributions.
“Electoral bonds and removal of cap on corporate funding will have a serious impact on transparency in the funding of political parties,” the affidavit noted.
The court will hear all the petitions challenging the scheme on April 2. Donations through electoral bonds need not to be reported after changes were made to the Finance Act, Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act.
“In a situation where contributions received through electoral bonds are not reported, on perusal of contribution report of political parties, it cannot be ascertained whether the political party has taken any donation in violation of section 29 B of the Representation of People Act, 1951, which prohibits the political parties from taking donations from government companies and foreign sources,” the affidavit said.
According to the petition, the data on donations available show that most donations were in bond denominations of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore.
This, according to them, indicates that the donors were unlikely to be ordinary citizens and more likely to be corporate donations.