SC Junks Plea Seeking Ban on Sale of Electoral Bonds Ahead of State Polls

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Supreme Court of India.

 Fresh electoral bonds can be issued from April 1, Court says

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an application seeking to bar sale of Electoral Bonds ahead of the upcoming elections in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry in March-end and April.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said: “In light of the scheme introduced in 2018 and the fact they have been released in 2018, 2019, and 2020 without impediment, we do not see any reason to stay the issuance at this stage.”

The  court said that fresh electoral bonds can be issued from April 1.

The decision came based on the Election Commission’s argument that it approves of the instrument since without it political parties will deal in hard cash.

However, the poll panel said it is keen on bringing in more transparency into the transactions involving the bonds.

The plea was filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) claiming there is a serious apprehension that any further sale of Electoral Bonds before the upcoming state elections, would further increase illegal and illicit funding of political parties through shell companies.

The NGO was represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan.

ADR had urged the top court to direct the Centre not to open any further window for sale of electoral bonds under the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, during the pendency of its writ petition.

The petitioner said it filed an intervention application in March 2019 and also in November 2019. In October, last year, the organisation filed an application for early hearing in view of the upcoming Bihar elections then.

However, the matter has not been listed for more than a year now.

“The Electoral Bonds Scheme has opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies which can have serious repercussions on the Indian democracy,” the plea argued. — IANS

(Inputs added_

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