The Supreme Court has decided that it will hear on April 2 the petitions which have challenged the issuance of electoral bonds by the government.
The petitioners have challenged the electoral bond scheme on the grounds that it (a)keeps the identity of the donor absolutely confidential (b)would enable corporate houses to anonymously donate their unaccounted cash to political parties (c)95% of the electoral bonds sold so far have been to the current ruling party and (d) electoral bonds are being made available during general elections solely to benefit big corporate donors.
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.
Every party that is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act,1951(43 of 1951) and has secured at least one per cent of the votes polled in the most recent Lok Sabha or State election will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission of India. Electoral bond transactions can be made only via this account.The bond have to be encashed within 15 days.
Government has defended the electoral bonds scheme 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.