The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the petitions challenging the Electoral Bonds scheme till the last week of January, 2023.
The Bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath heard the arguments by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who represented the Association for Democratic Reforms, one of the petitioners in the case.
Bhushan prayed that the matter be referred to a Constitution Bench as ‘weighty’ issues of ‘public importance’ were involved, requiring ‘authoritative’ pronouncement.
Noting that the case has remained pending since 2015, the Apex Court asked Bhushan as to why he was pressing for urgent hearing, that too on the penultimate day before vacation.
The Counsel replied that urgent hearing was requested in the case on many occasions earlier also.
The Bench then expressed difficulty in hearing the matter today, considering the large number of cases listed and posted the petitions for hearing in January next year. It also took into account the fact that even for reference, a preliminary hearing was required in the matter, before referring the same to a Constitution Bench.
One of the petitions filed in the matter by Congress leader Dr. Jaya Thakur, challenging the recent notification of the Centre allowing additional window for electoral bonds’ sale in the year of Assembly elections, is also listed today for hearing.
Besides, the ADR has recently filed an affidavit producing certain RTI documents which show that officials of the Ministries had expressed reservations against amending the electoral bonds scheme to allow additional sale window when the issue was pending before the top court of the country.
The Supreme Court had last year refused to stay the scheme ahead of Assembly elections in some states, stating that sufficient safeguards were inbuilt in it.