The opposition Congress and CPI(M) on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court’s order directing parties to furnish details of funds received through electoral bonds to the Election Commission, while the ruling BJP said it would wait for the final verdict.
The Supreme Court, in its order, did not stop political funding through electoral bonds but brought several checks on it to bring transparency by directing all political parties to furnish receipts of amounts received and details of identity of donors in a sealed cover to the Election Commission by May 30.
Reacting to the judgement, BJP spokesperson and Supreme Court lawyer Nalin Kohli said, "Whatever is the order of the Supreme Court, it has to be complied with and it is always complied with."
"As far as issues raised by the government is concerned, they have been placed before the court for its consideration. And we will await the final judgement," he said.
Welcoming the verdict, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, "This so-called corrupt invention of bonds is nothing, but a direct assault on the Indian constitutional basic structure."
The Congress party said it has always maintained that transparency in political funding and governance must be adhered to and free and fair elections in a level-playing field must be ensured.
The party expressed hope that the Supreme Court goes to the root of the matter and opens the sealed envelopes containing lists of names of electoral bond donors.
"The BJP should reveal the murky flood of money...95 per cent electoral bonds having gone to one party. Financial dominance of the single party decimates the very concept of a level-playing field," Singhvi told reporters.
Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said the apex court had "demolished" the stand taken by the BJP-led NDA government on the issue.
"Supreme Court demolishes stance taken by Modi, Jaitley & BJP - which had pushed this as a Money bill, for opaque, secret Electoral bonds. The court says transparency is the basic principle of electoral funding. People have a right to know which party got how much, and from whom," Yechury tweeted.
"Anonymity pushed by BJP is on the way out. Donors of black money via this route will be scared to fund from here on. Today EC has the data. Tomorrow the public will also have it," Yechury wrote on Twitter.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi took a swipe at the BJP and said the judgement would bring out the "nexus" between the ruling party and its "suited-booted friends".
"We welcome this judgement coming from the Supreme Court. We have always maintained that transparency in political funding, transparency in governance must be adhered to," she told reporters.
Singhvi said the Supreme Court has provided the mechanism through its interim order about resolving the issue of electoral bonds which is in favour of the ruling party, even though it has not quashed it.
"The Supreme Court has now said that whatever has been given till now, you will give the names in a sealed cover. The Supreme Court has said that what will be given from now till May, you will also give the names in a sealed cover.
"Let me predict between now and May, these donations will dry up. These great anonymous names donated generously to one party. Suddenly the generosity will vanish, because now there is a possibility that the sealed cover will be opened in May," he said.
Chaturvedi alleged that the BJP, which came to power on the back of promises such as bringing in transparency in the system, has done nothing towards it.
"We hope that the BJP would explain how they got such kind of political funding. We also hope this would expose the nexus between their suited-booted friends and the political party, which has within its five years not given development to this country, but developed a five-star headquarters for itself in Delhi," she said.
In its interim order, the apex court also directed all political parties to provide details of the amount of the bond and bank account of donors by May 30 to the poll panel.
The apex court said it would examine in detail changes made in Income Tax law, electoral law and banking laws to make them in consonance with the electoral bond scheme and ensure balance does not tilt in favour of any political party.
(With PTI inputs)