New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday will pronounce its verdict on a plea seeking stay on the operation of electoral bonds. Earlier on Thursday, the apex court had reserved its order on a PIL challenging the government’s electoral bond scheme for political funding.
Rejecting the Centre’s appeal to let the use of electoral bonds continue till the end of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would pronounce its order on the plea filed by NGO, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) on Friday.
Reserving verdict on a plea challenging the validity of electoral bonds, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that if the identity of the purchasers of electoral bonds was not known, the efforts of the Government to curtail black money in elections would be “futile”.
The plea had also sought that either the issuance of electoral bonds be stayed or the names of donors be made public to ensure transparency in the poll process.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), said that the scheme has nothing to do with the effort to curb black money and it now allows people to donate through banks while remaining anonymous. “Earlier, you could donate cash to the party, now you can donate through bank also,” he said.
Supporting the scheme, the Centre said the purpose was to eliminate the use of black money in elections and asked the court not to interfere with it at this stage and examine whether it had worked or not only after the elections.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, quipped, “So far as the electoral bond scheme is concerned, it is the matter of policy decision of the government and no government can be faulted for taking policy decision.” Adding, he said that the court can scrutinize the scheme after elections.
On Wednesday, the Centre and the Election Commission of India (ECI) had taken contrary stands in the top court over political funding with the government wanting to maintain the anonymity of the donors of electoral bonds and the poll panel batting for revealing the names of donors for transparency.