KOLKATA: In response to the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) recent request for electoral bonds, political parties, including the BJP and Congress, have submitted the required information. An official source from the ECI, during an exclusive conversation with The New Indian, stated that after being reminded on November 14, political parties were urged to submit the details by the evening of November 15, and a few have complied.
The ECI’s letter to political parties, with the subject line “reminder regarding electoral bonds,” stated, “Requests political parties who are yet to furnish the information regarding electoral bonds received by them to expedite the matter and furnish [it] to the commission in sealed envelopes as stated by the Commission in its above-mentioned letter by 5 pm, November 15, 2023.”
However, it has been learned that considering the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for November 19 on this matter, the ECI is likely to accept details related to electoral bonds beyond the November 15 deadline.
The Supreme Court is addressing the issue of updated data concerning money received by political parties as contributions through electoral bonds. During a hearing on November 2, the apex court had ordered the submission of updated data within a specified two-week period.
Given the lack of updated data post the 2019 general election, the Supreme Court has taken measures to enhance transparency in political parties’ fund-receiving activities.
Electoral bonds have been deemed to be a mode of political funding for parties which was introduced by the Narendra Modi government in 2017’s Finance Bill during the budget session for the financial year of 2017-18. Former finance minister Arun Jaitley had set a maximum cash deposit limit of Rs 2,000.
This was made to enhance transparency in financing a political party. These are seen as investments which do not fall under the purview of income tax deduction, as per provisions of Section 13A of the Income Tax Act.