Electoral bonds: SC agrees to hear fresh plea

New Delhi: Supreme Court agreed to hear, without giving any date, a fresh plea filed relating to the Centre amending electoral bonds scheme to allow their sale for 15 extra days during the “year of general elections to the legislative assembly of States and Union territories with legislature”.
A bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chadrachud, said we will list the matter for hearing, after senior advocate Anoop Chaudhari mentioned a fresh plea before it, challenging a recent notification relating to electoral bond scheme.
“They are issuing notification against the scheme. this notification is wholly illegal,” Chaudhari said and sought an urgent hearing into the entire electoral bond issue.
“We will list it, the matter will come up,” CJI Chandrachud said.
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.
Electoral bonds were introduced through Finance Act 2017, which in turn amended three other statutes – the RBI Act, the Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act – for enabling introduction of such bonds.
Various petitions are pending before the top court challenging at least five amendments made to different statutes through Finance Act 2016 and 2017, on the ground that they have opened doors to unlimited, unchecked funding of political parties.
The petitions sought that the money bill route was adopted in order to bypass the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling BJP government does not have a majority.
The petitioners — ADR and Common Cause — have also submitted before the Supreme Court that the consequence of the amendments was that annual contribution reports of political parties to be furnished to the Election Commission of India (ECI) need not mention names and addresses of those persons/ individuals by contributing by way of electoral bonds, thereby killing transparency in political funding.
The Finance Act, 2017 introduced a system of electoral bonds to be issued by any scheduled bank for the purpose of electoral funding.
(UNI)                                                                                                                 (Video discussion credits-Rajya Sabha TV feed of Feb. 2017)

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