NEW DELHI: The
on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a plea to stay issuance of
, scheduled for 10 days from April 1, even as the
said it supported the mechanism for donations to political parties but wanted more transparency by revealing the identity of donors.
“We do not know who has the solution to stop black money,” said a bench led by
Bobde, adding it was worried about anonymous donations through electoral bonds getting misused by political parties, which could use the funds so received for disruptive activities. “Can the government look into devising a mechanism to check the misuse of funds received through electoral bonds for illegal purposes,” it asked attorney general K K Venugopal and solicitor general
The bench also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian reserved order on a plea filed by an NGO after its counsel Prashant Bhushan said electoral bonds were a tool to inject black money into electoral politics. Bhushan said RBI and the EC had strongly opposed it by arguing that these would increase the role of black money in
However, Bhushan was countered by the CJI, who read out from documents filed by the lawyer to say that RBI was agreeable to electoral bonds if they were operated in demat format rather than as scrips. It asked Bhushan whether he could explain the difference between demat and scrip, to which the counsel expressed inability.
However, Bhushan repeatedly said electoral bonds would increase the role of black money in elections and its issuance from April 1, ahead of assembly elections, needed to be stayed.
Venugopal said the government learnt its lessons after the bad experience of bearer bonds. "Now, all payments for purchase of electoral bonds, which has a small lifespan within which the political party should encash it, must be made through demand drafts, cheques or bank transfers, thus bringing the transaction into the open for scrutiny. Moreover, the SC in its March 27, 2019, order had asked all political parties to submit details of donations received through electoral bonds to the Election Commission in sealed cover. So, there is
of black money being used as donations to political parties," he said. Mehta said electoral bonds were not transferable and hence could not be purchased by one and used for donation by another.
The EC, through senior advocate
, said, "The EC is supporting electoral bonds and not opposing them. Without electoral bonds, donations used to be made to political parties through hard cash, enhancing the chances of use of black money in elections. However, the commission favours more transparency and wants the name of donors as well as the amount donated to be made public."