Just before the assembly elections in five states, the government on Saturday (November 4) approved the issuance of the 29th tranche of electoral bonds. Its sale will open on 6 November. News agency PTI gave this information.
This decision has come when election campaigning is going on in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram.
Voting is from 7th to 30th November in these states. Whereas counting will take place on December 3.
However, the Supreme Court has raised questions on the need for electoral bonds. The bench of 5 judges has reserved its decision on 4 petitions and has sought details of funding of all the parties from the Election Commission.
The Finance Ministry has said in a statement that “The Government has authorized State Bank of India (SBI) to issue and encash electoral bonds from November 6 to 20 through 29 branches in the 29th phase of sale.”
Decision on electoral bond scheme
November 2: Supreme Court reserves the verdict in the Electoral Bond Scheme case. However, the date of next hearing was not given. The court expressed displeasure with the Election Commission for not maintaining data on funding received by parties. The Commission has also directed the political parties to provide information about the amount received through electoral bonds as soon as possible by September 30
November 1: SC’s question to the Center – Why can’t the opposition take information about donations: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta presented the stand on behalf of the government.
He said that electoral bonds have brought transparency in political donations. Donors do not want the other party to know about their donation. This will not increase the resentment of the other party towards him. On this, the Supreme Court said that if this is the case then why does the ruling party take information about the donations of the opposition? Why can’t the opposition take information about donations?
October 31: Prashant Bhushan said – This bond is only a bribe: Prashant Bhushan had given arguments. He had said that these bonds are only bribes, which influence government decisions. If a citizen has the right to know about the candidates, their assets, their criminal history, then they should also know who is funding the political parties.
Government said – Bonds will have to be deposited within 15 days of issue in
State Bank of India’s Bengaluru, Lucknow, Shimla, Dehradun, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai, Patna, New Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Gandhinagar, Bhopal, Raipur and Mumbai branches. Bonds will be sold from. According to the Finance Ministry, the electoral bonds will be valid for 15 days from the date of issue. If the bond is deposited after the expiry of this deadline, no payment will be made to any political party.
The ministry also said, “Electoral bonds deposited in the account of an eligible political party will be credited on the same day. These can be purchased by Indian citizens or entities registered in the country and also by registered political parties which have won in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections. Those who have secured at least 1% of the votes polled are eligible to receive funds from electoral bonds.
Why the controversy over this…
While presenting it in 2017, Arun Jaitley claimed that this would bring transparency in the funding of political parties and the election system. Black money will be curbed.
On the other hand, those who oppose it say that the identity of the person purchasing electoral bonds is not disclosed, due to which they can become a means of using black money in elections.
Some people allege that this scheme has been brought keeping in mind the big corporate houses. With this, these families can donate as much as they want to political parties without their identity being revealed.
4 PILs were filed in this matter. A petitioner had told the Supreme Court in March – So far, parties have received funding of Rs 12 thousand crore from electoral bonds. A particular party has got 2/3 of it.
Why did the case reach the Supreme Court…
The scheme was challenged in 2017 itself, but the hearing started in 2019. On April 12, 2019, the Supreme Court directed all political parties to submit all information related to electoral bonds to the Election Commission in an envelope by May 30, 2019. However, the court did not stop this plan.
Later in December, 2019, petitioner Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) moved an application to stay the scheme. In this, quoting media reports, it was told how the concerns of the Election Commission and the Reserve Bank on the electoral bond scheme were ignored by the Central Government.
During the hearing on this, former CJI SA Bobde said that the case will be heard in January 2020. The hearing was again adjourned for the Election Commission to file its reply. Since then, no hearing has taken place in this matter