New Delhi: The Supreme Court has slated the hearing of the petition challenging the validity of electoral bonds for today.
The top court bench will be hearing a petition filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that has also challenged unlimited corporate funding, and sought transparency in political funding.
Since the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was of the view that the matter required a detailed hearing and hence, it slated it for further consideration on April 10.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Prashant Bhushan said that thousands of crores of rupees were flowing into ruling party coffers from anonymous donors and the anonymity of electoral bonds ensured that majority of these go went to the ruling party.
The petitioner also sought a stay on the scheme on two grounds; almost all electoral bond donotions have been in favour of the Union Government and most bonds use the 1 million and 1 crore denominations, hinting that the scheme is used by corporates and not individuals, who enjoy donor anonymity.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal said that Bhushan was making an election speech. Electoral bonds curbed black money. On Tuesday, the Finance Ministry filed an affidavit before the court saying that electoral bonds was a positive step in the right direction to ensure “accountability and transparency” in conducting elections, adding that these bonds were introduced to deal with the menace of corruption in elections.
Late last month, the Election Commission (EC) had submitted an affidavit opposing the government’s claims and saying that the electoral bonds will wreck its efforts to make political finance more transparent.
The EC had alleged that the latest amendment to the Companies Act could lead to the infusion of black money through the route of shell companies and as a result, open up political parties to influence by foreign companies.