Use of electoral bonds for Delhi polls worries activists
Activists working for electoral reforms said they were disappointed on Monday when the Supreme Court declined to stay the electoral bond scheme of the government, saying that the anonymous donations to political parties through these bonds could continue for the Delhi Assembly elections next month.
A founder of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which had filed a plea for stay of the scheme on November 29, 2019, Jagdeep S. Chhokar, said the apex court had asked the Election Commission of India to reply on the stay plea in two weeks. He pointed out that the plea had been filed in November 2019 and the ECI had time since then to give its response. Now, he said, the ADR would continue to push for “early hearing”, given that Delhi elections are on February 8. The Finance Ministry has approved the sale of the 13th tranche of electoral bonds by SBI from January 13 to January 22.
The government’s scheme was meant for Lok Sabha elections, but the sale window for bonds had been opened before State Assembly elections repeatedly, Mr Chhokar said. Under the scheme notified in January 2018, an Indian person or company can buy electoral bonds sold by the State Bank of India and donate to a political party. The identity of the donors are not made public… “It is sad that unaccounted money will be used in the Delhi elections,” Mr. Chhokar said. Lawyer and activist Anjali Bhardwaj said it was “disappointing” that the Supreme Court had not stayed the “opaque electoral bonds scheme”.…
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