Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde orally made it clear that if the Supreme Court had found it unnecessary to stay the electoral bonds scheme earlier, it might not stay the scheme even now.
Arguments against the scheme:
- Both the Election Commission (EC) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had strongly objected to the scheme and raised the red flag against it.
- According to critics, the scheme was being frequently opened to allow funds to fill the coffers of the ruling party. The government’s scheme was meant for Lok Sabha elections, but the sale window had been opened before State Assembly elections repeatedly.
- Instead of opening the scheme exclusively for the Lok Sabha election, as envisaged, it had become a mechanism to funnel benami funds to fuel political parties.
- In April 2019, the Supreme Court passed an interim order directing political parties to provide complete information to the EC in sealed covers on every single donor and contribution received by them till date through electoral bonds. However, it did not stay the operation of the scheme.
Important Info :
- Background: The Finance Bill, 2017 introduced “electoral bonds” scheme, which was notified on January 2, 2018.
- What are they? Electoral bonds are interest-free bearer bonds that are used to donate money anonymously to political parties.
- Buyers: The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore which can be bought by Indian citizens or companies incorporated or established in India.
- Eligible Parties: Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 and has secured no less than one per cent votes in the last Lok Sabha elections are eligible to receive electoral bonds.
- Issuer: The State Bank of India (SBI) is the only bank authorised to sell them.
- Anonymity: Buyers of the bonds have to submit full KYC details at the time of buying. But the beneficiary political party is not required to reveal the identity of the entity that has given it the bond(s).
Source : The Hindu