It Is Not a Voter's Concern Where Political Parties' Money Comes From, AG Tells SC

The Supreme Court will announce its verdict in the electoral bonds case tomorrow morning.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on a PIL challenging the government’s electoral bond scheme for political funding.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would pronounce its order tomorrow on the plea filed by NGO, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The NGO, which has challenged the validity of the scheme, has sought interim relief including that either the issuance of electoral bonds be stayed or the names of the donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, supported the scheme saying the purpose behind it is to eliminate the use of black money in elections.

“So far as the electoral bond scheme is concerned, it is the matter of policy decision of the government and no government can be faulted for taking policy decision,” Venugopal said, adding the court can scrutinise the scheme after elections.

Also read: Finance Ministry ‘Misled’ Parliament About Electoral Bonds

While asking the AG as well as officials from the Election Commission and Ministry of Finance about the provisions of the scheme, Justice Deepak Gupta said, “It is very important aspect of democracy for the voter to know as to who funds their party.”

The AG, however, according to LiveLaw, had a different take on how much information a voter needs to have. “It is not voter’s concern to know where the money comes from. Transparency cannot be looked as a mantra. What is the realities of the country. This is a scheme that will eliminate black money from the election,” Venugopal was quoted as saying.

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, said that the electoral bond scheme has done nothing to curb black money. “All that you have done through the scheme is to open a banking channel also to donate anonymously,” LiveLaw quoted him as saying.

(With PTI inputs)