Monday, January 30, 2023

Supreme Court to hear plea against electoral bond scheme tomorrow

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A Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, will take up the batch of petitions on Tuesday, challenging the electoral bond scheme that permits anonymous funding of political parties.

As per the petitioners, the fresh notification issued by the Central government had amended the scheme to provide an additional period of 15 days for the sale of electoral bonds in the year of general elections to the Legislative Assemblies of States and Union Territories.

Senior Advocate Anoop Chaudhari had mentioned a fresh plea challenging a recent notification relating to electoral bond scheme before CJI Chandrachud, where he promised listing of the matter.

An electoral bond is an instrument in the nature of a promissory note or bearer bond, which can be purchased by any individual, company, firm or association of persons, provided the person or body is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.

On October 14, the Apex Court had listed the matter for hearing on December 6.

The Bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.V. Nagarathna had then asked the government whether the electoral bonds system revealed the source of money funded by political parties.

Appearing for the Union government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the methodology of receiving money was absolutely transparent, adding that it was impossible to get any black or unaccounted money in the account of any political party.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal and Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, urged the Apex Court for urgent hearing, saying that the scheme affected the very idea of free and fair elections provided under Article 324 of the Constitution.

The bonds are issued specifically for the purpose of contribution of funds to political parties in its existing scheme in the country.

The term electoral, bond was introduced through Finance Act 2017, which has amended three other statutes – the RBI Act, the Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act – for enabling introduction of such bonds.

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