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Supreme Court to hear plea to stay electoral bond scheme in January

Congress protest against electoral bond in front of the Parliament. File

Congress protest against electoral bond in front of the Parliament. File   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

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A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde briefly heard senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s oral mentioning that around ₹6,000 crore was collected under the scheme, even though it was red-flagged by institutions like the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear in January next year a plea to stay the electoral bond scheme for collection of funds by political parties to contest elections.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde briefly heard senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan’s oral mentioning that around ₹6,000 crore was collected under the scheme, even though it was red-flagged by institutions like the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission.

The interim application filed by Association for Democratic Reforms, represented by Mr. Bhushan, sought a stay on its implementation as it had become a fertile base for bribery, money laundering and channeling black money. “We have filed an application for stay of this scheme which is being misused by the party in power,” Mr. Bhushan submitted before the Bench.

“We will see this in January,” Chief Justice Bobde replied orally.

The government had notified the scheme on January 2, 2018. In April, it had defended the scheme, saying it allows anonymity to donors to protect them from “political victimisation.”

The Ministry of Finance’s affidavit in the top court had dismissed the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) argument that the invisibility afforded to benefactors was a “retrogade step” and would wreck transparency in political funding.

The government affidavit said the shroud of secrecy was a product of “well thought-out policy considerations.” It said the earlier system of cash donations had raised a “concern among the donors that, with their identity revealed, there would be competitive pressure from different political parties receiving donation.”

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:35:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-to-hear-plea-to-stay-electoral-bond-scheme-in-january/article30167075.ece

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