Electoral Bonds: Centre favours anonymity, but EC against
New Delhi, April 10 (IANS): The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that secrecy of information through electoral bonds is essential to curb black money in political funding.
Making its submission in this regard to the apex court, the Centre justified why anonymity is a positive step in countering the flow of black money in the system.
Attorney General (AG) K.K. Venugopal in his submission said: “Electoral bonds are meant to eradicate black money in political funding…as we have no State funding of elections. Political parties get funds from supporters, affluent persons, etc. The funders all want their political party to come to power. But if their party does not, then there could be repurcurssions….so secrecy is required.”
The government informed the Supreme Court that many companies prefer anonymity for various reasons. For example, if a particular company funds a political party and it does not come power, the company could be punished by their own shareholders.
The donations made through electoral bonds are actually from white money, the AG said, adding that if agencies are willing to ascertain the source of money, they can scrutinize it through banking channels.
Though the government is in favour of anonymity in electoral bonds, the Election Commission of India (EC) has an opposite view, the EC’s counsel said.
“We are not against electoral bonds. We are only opposed to the anonymity associated with it”, he said.
The EC emphasized that it wants transparency in political funding, while the disclosure of the identity of the funders as well as the recipients of funding is essential for democracy.
“People have the right to know about the antecedents of their representatives and the political party that candidate represents” said the ECI counsel.
The hearing will continue later in the day.