Supreme Court to hear plea on electoral bonds on December 6

The petition has challenged notification allowing sale of the bonds for additional 15 days in Assembly election years

November 22, 2022 09:32 pm | Updated 11:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi.

The Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

The Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed December 6 for hearing a petition challenging the government notification allowing the sale of electoral bonds for an additional 15 days in Assembly election years.

A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said the petition would be listed along with earlier pending ones which had challenged the electoral bonds scheme itself.

The petition has sought the quashing of a November 7 notification issued by the Finance Ministry amending the electoral bonds scheme. “An additional period of 15 days shall be specified by the Central government in the year of general elections to the legislative Assembly of States and Union Territories with the legislature,” the gazette notification had said.

Earlier, a 30-day extra period for sale was allowed only in Lok Sabha election year.

The earlier petitions challenging the scheme were last listed before a Bench led by Justice B.R. Gavai on October 14.

On that day, the court had asked the government whether the electoral bonds’ system revealed the source of money pumped in to fund political parties even as the Centre had repeatedly maintained that the scheme was “absolutely transparent”.

‘Absolutely transparent’

“The methodology of receiving money is absolutely transparent… It is impossible to get any black or unaccounted money in… To say that this [electoral bonds scheme] affects democracy may not hold water. We will take Your Lordships through this step-by-step,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had replied for the government on that day.

The petitioners, represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, had argued that the scheme affected the very idea of free and fair elections.

“Free and fair elections are central to a democracy. It is the basic structure… Now, an opaque way of funding political parties where you do not even know who is funding whom destroys the very concept of Article 324,” Mr. Sibal had argued.

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