Centre to File Affidavit Over Hidden Number on Electoral Bonds
The Centre on Wednesday, 10 April, said that it will file a separate affidavit in the Supreme Court, over the hidden unique alphanumeric number on electoral bonds. This was after The Quint’s expose was cited by Prashant Bhushan, who was appearing for the petitioners, during the hearing on constitutionality of electoral bonds.
Earlier, the EC submitted before the apex court that it was not against the issuance of electoral bonds for funding to political parties but it was against the anonymity of donors. The agency also pushed for transparency in the scheme.
“We are not opposed to the electoral bonds as such, as it will legalise donations. But we are opposed to the anonymity. We are against anonymity and we want transparency,” advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for EC, told the apex court, during the hearing of pleas against issuance of electoral bonds.
Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan said that the EC affidavit criticising the electoral bonds scheme is on the same grounds as the petitioners NGOs – Common Cause and Association of Democratic Reforms.
Bhushan then spoke on the importance of transparency in political funding, how experts have emphasised on the need for this, and how it is essential to ensure a level-playing field.
Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted before the court that electoral bonds are necessary to combat the menace of black money. The A-G justified the scheme saying there will be “repercussions” if the donors disclose their names.
“We don’t have state funding for elections and huge money is required for elections and there are many people who support a political party and want the party to come into power. Therefore, there is no requirement for disclosure.”KK Venugopal, Attorney General
“Most of the big donors do not want their names to be disclosed because the moment their name is disclosed, it will be open to repercussions. The scheme devised makes the bank notes.”KK Venugopal, Attorney General
The Quint’s Report on Unique Alphanumeric Number on Electoral Bonds
“Won’t the SBI bank know who has issued which bond,” the CJI asked Venugopal, to which Bhushan pointed that the bonds have a unique secret alphanumeric number.
In a major expose, an investigation by The Quint revealed that electoral bonds have hidden alphanumeric numbers printed on them to track down the link between donors and political parties.
When the matter came up in the apex court, during the course of the hearing, the A-G said that he “will take instructions” from the court and will file a separate affidavit over it.
The matter has been adjourned for today and will be taken up again on Thursday, 11 April.