Source: 
Newsclick
https://www.newsclick.in/freeze-funds-political-parties-came-unconstitutional-electoral-bonds-sarma-urges-ec
Author: 
Date: 
02.03.2024
City: 
New Delhi

The BJP has been the biggest beneficiary of this secretive scheme. Till the end of 2022-2023, of the total of Rs 12,000 crore coming through this scheme since its inception, Rs 6,500 crore went to the BJP.

Former senior bureaucrat EAS Sarma has called upon the Election Commission to freeze all amounts that political parties have got through the unconstitutional electoral bonds.  

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and other commissioners, the former Government of India Secretary said the Supreme Court had (on February 15, 2024) had ruled that the electoral bond scheme was non-transparent and unconstitutional. It had ordered that the scheme be stopped with immediate effect.

Urging the EC to “stand by the people” of the country irrespective of whether election dates are announced or not and freeze crores of  anonymous donations to political parties, including BJP, the largest recipient, by exercising its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution (wherein direction and control of elections are vested in the EC) , “to make sure that not a single rupee obtained under the scheme is used in the coming elections.”

According to the Association of Democratic Reforms, of the total number of electoral bonds worth Rs 12,008 crore sold between 2017-2018 and 2022-2023, the BJP received nearly 55% or Rs 6,564 crore. Meanwhile, Congress has received just 9.5% of all bonds sold in the five-year period at Rs 1,135 crore. The Trinamool Congress has received Rs 1,096 crore from electoral bonds in this same time period.

 Read the full letter below:

Subject: Freeze all amounts that accrued to political parties through unconstitutional Electoral Bonds

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to the Govt of India

 

To

 

Shri Rajiv Kumar

Chief Election Commissioner

Election Commission of India (ECI)

 

Shri A C Pandey

Election Commissioner

Election Commission of India (ECI)

 

Shri Arun Goel

Election Commissioner

Election Commission of India (ECI)

Dear S/Shri Rajiv Kumar/ Pandey/ Goel,

The apex court of India has held the Electoral Bonds scheme being non-transparent to be violative of the Constitution. 

I understand that large amounts are still lying in the accounts of the political parties including BJP, the biggest beneficiary of the scheme. Since one is not sure whether the amounts thus lying with the political parties have accrued from genuine sources compliant with the national interest and whether some of those funds may have accrued even through questionable means, as the custodian for conducting elections in a free and fair manner, the Commission should invoke it's authority under Article 324 and freeze all those funds to make sure that not a single rupee obtained under the scheme is used in the coming elections. 

This should be ordered by the Commission irrespective of whether any announcement of the election schedule is made or not 

I hope that the Commission rises to the occasion, stands by the people of the country and takes action forthwith.

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma

2-3-2024

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