SC to hear plea challenging Electoral Bond scheme in Jan
The Supreme Court Wednesday agreed to hear in January a plea by an NGO seeking a stay on the Electoral Bond Scheme notified by the Centre on January 2, 2018.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), argued before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde that the application puts on record the objections of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other authorities on the Electoral Bonds scheme which were ignored by the government and have been recently disclosed through RTI.
Bhushan insisted that around Rs 6,000 crore was collected under the scheme, red-flagged by RBI and the Election Commission. As he equated the scheme as akin to accepting bribe, money laundering and channelisation of black money, the court said: "We will see this in January."
The application emphasized the scheme has opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian and foreign companies, potentially having serious repercussions on the Indian democracy.
The bonds were introduced through the Finance Act of 2017, and are exempt from disclosure under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, therefore opening doors to unchecked and unknown funding to political parties, the plea said. "These bonds are in the nature of bearer bonds. The identity of the donor is kept anonymous. Political Parties are not required to disclose the name of the person/entity donating to a party through electoral bonds," it said.
In April this year, the apex court had observed, taking into consideration the submission on lack of transparency in the bonds, that the just and proper interim direction would be to require all the political parties who have received donations through Electoral Bonds to submit to the Election Commission in sealed cover, "detailed particulars of the donors as against each Bond; the amount of each such bond and the full particulars of the credit received against each bond, namely, the particulars of the bank account to which the amount has been credited and the date of each such credit".IANS