Electoral Bonds | Order Summary: SC directs all parties to submit details of donations to ECI

Constitutionality of the Electoral Bond Scheme

Judges: Ranjan Gogoi CJI, Deepak Gupta J, Sanjiv Khanna J

The 3 judge Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan GogoiJustice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna passed an interim order on the electoral bond scheme which was challenged by petitioners Association for Democratic Reforms, Common Cause and Communist Party of India (Marxist). The Election Commission took a position against the Union seeking changes in the functioning of the scheme to make the electoral bond a more transparent instrument.

The Bench said that “the rival contentions give rise to weighty issues which have a tremendous bearing on the sanctity of the electoral process in the country”, and that “Such weighty issues would require an in depth hearing which cannot be concluded and the issues answered within the limited  time.”

The Court directed all political parties to submit to the Election Commission details of all bonds received until May 15th by May 30th. The parties are to disclose the donations, donors’ identity and bank account details in a “sealed cover”  to the Election Commission. The Court directed the Finance Ministry to alter its notification, which granted 5 extra days for purchasing electoral bonds.  The Court did not place a stay on the electoral bonds scheme.

The bench wrote that it was cautious to ensure that “any interim arrangement that may be made would not tilt the balance in favour of either of the  parties but that the same ensures adequate safeguards against the competing claims of the parties which are yet to be adjudicated.”

They directed that “The sealed covers will remain in the custody of the Election Commission of India and will abide by such orders as may be passed by the Court.”

Hearings will continue at a later date.