Though the Supreme Court today turned down a plea for interim stay on electoral bonds, it has directed the political parties asking them to furnish details of money received through electoral bonds and identity of the donors by May 30.
The details of donation received by the political parties have to be submitted in sealed cover. The court said the Election Commission of India will keep the record of the money received through electoral bonds by the political parties.
The Supreme Court also directed the finance ministry to reduce window of purchasing electoral bonds from 10 days to five days in April-May. The court further said it would examine in detail the changes made in law and ensure that balance does not tilt in favour of any party.
The ruling came on a petition challenging the validity of electoral bonds, which allows anonymous donations to political parties. The government yesterday had told the court that it is not necessary for voters to know the identity of contributors.
This is an interim direction with the top court stating that time is not sufficient to have a detailed hearing on the matter. The Supreme Court, however, observed that the contentions submitted by both parties give rise to weighty issues and have a tremendous bearing on the sanctity of the electoral process.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi was hearing the plea filed by the CPI(M) and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organisation. The ADR, which has challenged the validity of the scheme, has sought interim relief, including that either the issuance of electoral bonds must be stopped or the names of the donors made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.The CPI(M) in its petition claimed that the non-disclosure clause would add to the woes of Indian democracy.