Supreme Court Directs Election Commission to Compile Political Party Funding Data in 2 Weeks

Supreme Court Directs Election Commission to Compile Political Party Funding Data in 2 Weeks

New Delhi : The Supreme Court has issued a directive to the Election Commission of India (ECI), instructing them to gather and present, in a sealed cover, within a two-week timeframe, data related to funds received by political parties through electoral bonds up to September 30 of the current year.

A five-judge constitution bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and including Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, referred to an interim order from April 12, 2019, where the Supreme Court had already instructed political parties to provide details regarding the funds they received through electoral bonds.

The bench has now directed the Election Commission to provide the most recent data until September 30, 2023, as per the interim directive issued on April 12, 2019.

After three days of hearings, the apex court has reserved its judgment on various pleas, including those filed by individuals and entities like Congress leader Jaya Thakur, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), as reported by PTI.

The petitioners have argued that the electoral bond scheme has not achieved its intended goal of eliminating cash donations, which was a stated objective of the scheme. The Center, represented by the solicitor general, has contended that digital payments will help in eradicating the use of black money in elections.

It's worth noting that the electoral bond scheme, which was introduced by the government on January 2, 2018, was proposed as an alternative to cash donations to enhance transparency in political funding for parties. According to the scheme's provisions, electoral bonds can be acquired by any Indian individual or organization, either individually or in conjunction with other individuals.

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