A high-level Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, has asked political parties to furnish receipts of electoral bonds and details of identity of donors in a sealed cover to the Election Commission.
The Centre had notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 in January last year. As per 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.
Anyone being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly 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 the last general election to the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds. Electoral bonds shall be encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with an authorized bank.
The apex court has also directed all political parties to provide details of the amount and bank accounts of donors by 30 May to the poll panel.
The order was pronounced on Friday by a Bench consisting of Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
The order was passed in the wake of a plea of an NGO challenging the validity of the scheme and sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds be stayed or names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.
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As the world’s largest democracy witnesses parliamentary elections on Thursday, a total of 91 parliamentary constituencies in 18 States and two union territories of the country underwent polls. It was the first phase of seven-phased Lok Sabha polls. The last phase of elections will be held on May 19. The counting of votes will be held on May 23.