The Central Information Commission (CIC) has clarified that information on who paid political parties through electoral bonds cannot be made public. A petition was filed with the Central Information Commission seeking disclosure of the names of those who paid political parties through electoral bonds and how much.
The Central Information Commission, while dismissing the petition, said that such information was not in the public interest. Vihar Durve, an RTI activist from Pune, had filed a petition with the Central Information Commission. Earlier, State Bank of India had given the same reply to the petitioners.
The Central Information Commission stated that the information sought by the petitioner was not in the public interest but was personal. Earlier, the State Bank of India (SBI) had also refused to disclose the petition, saying it was personal.
Petitioner Vihar Durve said, “It was the Central Information Commission that brought the six national parties under RTI. Now the objection of the Election Commission, RBI and the Law Ministry is not mentioned anywhere in giving this decision.”
Issue of transparency and accountability
Petitioner Vihar Durve said, “We had sought such information from SBI on the issue of transparency and accountability. Citizens need to know which political parties get how much funding.”
Vihar Durve had sought information from SBI on who bought electoral bonds and through which party received how much political funding. SBI declined to comment. Therefore, the petitioners approached the Central Information Commission. He said that SBI should work in the interest of the common man and not in the interest of political parties.
The State Bank of India has clarified that the information related to confidential electoral bonds is not in the public interest but is confidential. He referred to the 2018 Electoral Bond Scheme and told the petitioner that the information was confidential and could not be made public for any purpose.