December 02, 2019

Association For Democratic Reforms Moves Supreme Court Seeking Stay On Implementation Of Electoral Bond Scheme

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the implementation of the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018.

According to the petition, the scheme has opened the floodgates of unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies which could have serious repercussions on democracy in the country.

The plea stated that certain amendments made in the Finance Act, 2017 and the earlier Finance Act, 2016, have opened doors to unlimited political donations, even from foreign companies and thereby legitimizing electoral corruption at a huge scale, while at the same time ensuring complete non-transparency in political funding.

It stated that the use of electoral bonds for political donations is a cause for concern because these bonds are in the nature of bearer bonds and the identity of the donor is kept anonymous.

The plea stated that political parties are not required to disclose the name of the person or entity donating to a party through electoral bonds. Since the bonds are bearer instruments and have to be physically given to political parties so that they can be encashed, the parties would know who exactly is donating to them.

It is only the citizens who would never know who is donating to which party due to which electoral bonds have increased the anonymity of political donations, the plea stated.

The ADR stated that it has already filed a public interest litigation (PIL) on the issue of corruption and subversion of democracy through illicit as well as foreign funding of political parties which lack of transparency in the accounts of all political parties.

The plea, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said it is seeking grant of stay on implementing the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, notified by the Central Government on January 2, 2018.

It said that through the amendments made to the Finance Act, 2017 and the earlier Finance Act, 2016, the requirement of donor companies to disclose the name of th4e political party to which they donated in their Profit and Loss account, has been removed.

The petition has also stated that this has a major negative implication on transparency in political funding which also violated the citizens' right to information, which is a fundamental right.

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