Anonymity of poll bonds must go: EC

  1. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has told the Supreme Court that it was not opposed to the use of Electoral Bonds as an instrument but did not want the donations to remain anonymous.
  2. Earlier,the Election Commission had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court.It said that the introduction of electoral bonds and the removal of the cap on corporate funding by the government will have a serious impact on the transparency of political funding.
  3. EC has also said that any donation received by a political party through an electoral bond has been taken out from the ambit of reporting under the contribution report as prescribed under section 29C of the Representation of the People Act,1951.This amendment would lead to difficulty in ascertaining if the political parties received donations from government companies or foreign sources.
  4. Government has defended the electoral bonds scheme in the apex court as (a)Electoral bonds have been introduced to promote transparency in funding and donations received by political parties (b)The scheme envisages building a transparent system of acquiring bonds with validated KYC and an audit trail and (c)The electoral bonds will prompt donors to take the banking route to donate,with their identity captured by the issuing authority.This will ensure transparency and accountability and is a big step towards electoral reform.
  5. Electoral bonds are bearer instrument in the nature of a promissory note and an interest-free banking instrument.A citizen of India or a body incorporated in India is eligible to purchase the bond.Electoral bonds can be purchased for any value in multiples of ₹1,000, ₹10,000, ₹10 lakh, and ₹1 crore from any of the specified branches of the State Bank of India.