The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the decision to issue electoral bonds would promote transparency in funding and donations received by political parties, The Hindu reported. The government was responding to a petition filed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury at the Supreme Court.
Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from a bank and give to a political party, which is then free to redeem them for money.
“They [bonds] can be encashed by an eligible political party only through their accounts with authorised banks,” the Centre said in an affidavit. “The bonds do not have the name of the donor or the receiving political party and only carry unique hidden alphanumeric serial numbers as an in-built security feature.”
Yechury’s plea challenged the electoral bond scheme as “an obscure funding system which is unchecked by any authority”. The petition alleged that bonds were kept “secretive” to benefit corporate houses.
The government said electoral bonds will ensure “transparency, accountability and big step towards electoral reform”, reported Live Law. “The electoral bonds will prompt donors to take the banking route to donate, with their identity captured by the issuing authority.”
The Centre in the 21-page affidavit said: “Keeping in view the emergent need to ensure that there is enhanced accountability and electoral reforms to defeat the growing menace of black money, especially when the country is moving towards a cashless-digital economy, the legislature has adopted a conscious legislative policy culminating in the introduction of the electronic reforms.”
The affidavit, while quoting Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said the conventional system of parties taking cash donations was not transparent and that electoral bonds will “cleanse up” the political funding mechanism.
The government sought that Yechury’s petition be dismissed saying there was “no invidious or arbitrary discrimination, and there has been no violation of any fundamental right of the petitioner”, PTI reported.