New Delhi, Apr 5: The Supreme Court on Tuesday
agreed to hear a plea against the laws allowing political parties’ funding through the electoral bond scheme.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the
NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that it is a critical issue, which requires an urgent hearing.
He cited a newsreport where a Calcutta- based company paid Rs 40 crore through electoral bonds
to ensure that no excise raids are conducted on it.
The Chief Justice replied that if it was not for Covid, then the court would have heard the matter.
The bench, also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, assured Bhushan an early listing of the matter. In 2017, the NGO had filed
a plea alleging subversion of democracy through illicit and lack of transparency in the accounts of all political parties.
The government notified the Electoral Bond
Scheme on January 2, 2018. In March, last year, the
NGO filed an interim application, in its pending petition, claiming there was a serious apprehension that any further sale of electoral
bonds before the upcoming state elections in West
Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam, would further increase illegal and illicit funding of political parties through shell companies.
“The Electoral Bonds Scheme has opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate donations
to political parties and anony- mous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies which
can have serious repercussions on the Indian democracy”, the plea had argued.
The top court, in January last year, had declined to
grant an interim stay on the 2018 Electoral Bonds Scheme.
It had also sought replies from the Central government and the Election Commission
on the NGO’s plea.