New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India Thursday November 02, 2023 asked the Election Commission of India to submit the latest data of funds received by all political parties through Electoral Bonds.
The apex court directed the Poll Panel to submit the details of the funds received by all the political parties through Electoral Bonds till September 30 within two weeks.
A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra heard the arguments from both sides – the Centre and petitioners challenging the scheme.
While hearing arguments on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the electoral bonds scheme for funding political parties.
After the Centre concluded its submission, the SC bench asked the Election Commission to submit the data on funding received through Electoral Bonds to date.
However, Advocate Amit Sharma appearing for the Poll Panel said he did not have the required data.
The apex court expressed its displeasure to the ECI for not maintaining the necessary records despite an interim order passed in April 2019 which directed it to maintain the data of electoral bonds received to date.
Advocate Sharma told the Supreme Court that the ECI thought the April 2019 order was limited to only the electoral bonds issued in relation to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
However, the Bench refused to accept the submission and said that the data had to be continuously collected according to the order and said the ECI should have asked for clarification.
According to reports, 7 national parties and 24 regional parties received a total donation of Rs 9,188.35 crore through electoral bonds between 2016-17 and 2021-22.
Of this, the BJP received Rs 5,272 crore and the Congress received Rs 952 crore, while the rest went to other parties.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), national parties experienced a significant surge in electoral bond donations, witnessing a 743 per cent increase between FY 2017-18 and FY 2021-22.
The bench reserved its verdict on the petitions, including those filed by Congress leader Jaya Thakur, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), after hearing arguments for three days.
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