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EC Asks All Parties To Share Details Of Donations Received Through Electoral Bonds

The Election Commission has requested that “all such parties” that have ever received funding through electoral bonds provide, by November 15th, a comprehensive list of all the donations they have received since the program’s launch.

The EC’s action follows the Supreme Court’s November 2 directive to the poll panel to submit “up to date” information on political party funding received through electoral bonds through September 30, 2023, under a sealed cover.

The EC also requested that the heads of all political parties submit comprehensive information about the credit obtained against each bond, the size of each bond, and the donors’ specifics against each bond in a sealed cover in a letter sent to them on November 3.

According to the EC’s letter, information should be given to the secretary of the election expenditure division in two sealed envelopes: one with the information and the other with the first envelope sealed.

The sealed covers should arrive by November 15 evening, according to the EC. Additionally, it stated that the envelopes have to be labelled “confidential-electoral bonds” explicitly.

The Supreme Court stated in its November 2 ruling that “This exercise shall be carried out on or before November 19, 2023.” Information in a sealed packet must be given to this court’s judicial clerk. Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud’s five-judge constitution bench cited the April 12, 2019, interim order issued by the Supreme Court ordering political parties to provide the poll panel with a sealed cover containing information on the funds they got through electoral bonds.

In April 2019, the Supreme Court rejected the Centre’s request to halt the electoral bonds scheme and declared that it would give the pleas a thorough hearing because the Election Commission and the Centre had brought up “weighty issues” that had “tremendous bearing on the sanctity of the electoral process in the country.”

In an attempt to increase openness in political fundraising, the government announced the electoral bonds programme on January 2, 2018, offering it as a substitute for financial contributions to political parties.

Any Indian person or organisation that has been incorporated or created in the nation may purchase electoral bonds in accordance with the scheme’s terms. Election bonds may be purchased individually or in combination with other people.

Electoral bonds can only be obtained by political parties that are registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and that have received at least one percent of the votes cast in the most recent election for the Lok Sabha or a state legislative assembly.

The government announcement states that a political party that qualifies may only cash electoral bonds through an account with a bank that has been licenced.

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