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‘Eliminate dirty cash but also protect donor privacy’, says poll body chief

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NEW DELHI: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, while reiterating that Election Commission is all for

transparency

, acknowledged the need for an

institutional mechanism

to control “unaccounted” money in donations that also protects donors’ privacy and ensures they are not harassed for contributing to a certain political party.
Responding to a question on

electoral bonds

at the EC press conference here, Kumar said there is no scope in a democracy for hiding things.

“We (at EC) are all for transparency. (But) the country now has to find solutions through an institutional mechanism where a donor’s privacy is also considered,” he said.

Screenshot 2024-03-17 033032

In a landmark verdict on Feb 15,

Supreme Court

had scrapped Centre’s electoral bond scheme that allowed corporate donors anonymity. It ordered EC to publish names of donors, the amount donated by them and their recipients. EC has since complied with the direction.

But Kumar on Saturday voiced his fear of

unaccounted money

making a comeback in

political funding

with the demise of bonds. “The unaccounted money which is used in elections… during elections, we are very particular to control it. But how we also control donations in the unaccounted form is something on which the entire nation should work…(such that) the donor’s privacy is also protected and he is not harassed. How it (donation) is more and more white,” he noted.
“In the

digital age

, there must be very less

cash economy

. One has to think and I am sure some better system will evolve where it becomes like that,” Kumar added.
On a question regarding transparency in funding of parties, CEC said EC rules make it mandatory for all parties to declare the contributions they receive in their contribution reports, disclose how much they collected and spent in their annual audit accounts, and file their election expenses after every election. “We publish these on our website,” he said.

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