WON’T STAY ELECTORAL BONDS SCHEME EVEN NOW: CJI
Context: Chief Justice of India (CJI) on 20th January orally made it clear that if the Supreme Court had found it unnecessary to stay the electoral bonds scheme (EBS), it may not stay the scheme even now.
On April 12 last year, SC passed an interim order directing parties to provide total information to ECI in sealed covers but did not stay the scheme.
CONCERNS REGARDING THE ELECTORAL BOND SCHEME
- New facts have come up indicating that the scheme is being frequently opened to allow funds to fill the coffers of the ruling party.
- The scheme would be opened again now with the Delhi elections scheduled on February 8. Instead of opening the scheme exclusively for the Lok Sabha elections, as envisaged, it has become a mechanism to funnel Benami funds to fuel political parties.
- Both the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had strongly objected to the scheme and raised the red flag against it.
- It was argued that 95% of the payments through electoral bonds till date had been routed to the BJP.
- The ECI submitted that a lion’s share of the contributions via electoral bonds had gone to the ruling party.
- Over 6,000 crore had been drawn in through the scheme recently.
THE APRIL 12 ORDER
- The April 12 interim order was meant to ensure that the balance was not tilted in anybody’s favour before the May last general elections.
- The court then ordered political parties to forthwith provide the ECI with “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.
- Electoral bonds legalize anonymity of political donors and the parties receiving contributions.
- But the right to vote also means the right to make an informed choice.
- Knowing the candidate is only “half the exercise”.
- The voters should also know the source of funding of political parties who prop up these candidates.