New Delhi, March 26: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the sale of fresh a fresh set of electoral bonds ahead of upcoming assembly elections in four states and one union territory – West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. The top court said that fresh electoral bonds could be issued from April 1. The apex court said that since the bonds were allowed in 2018 and 2019 with sufficient safeguard, so there is no logic to stay electoral bonds at present. Plea in SC Seeks Direction to Centre to Not Open Any Further Window for Sale of Electoral Bonds.
While hearing a plea seeking to bar the sale of Electoral Bonds ahead of the upcoming Vidhan Sabha polls, a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said, "In light of the scheme introduced in 2018 and the fact they have been released in 2018, 2019, and 2020 without impediment, we do not see any reason to stay the issuance at this stage." Supreme Court Reserves Order on Plea to Stay Electoral Bonds.
Notably, the Election Commission argued that without electoral bonds, political parties would deal in hard cash. The plea was filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), claiming there is a serious apprehension that any further sale of Electoral Bonds before the upcoming state elections would further increase illegal and illicit funding of political parties through shell companies. The NGO was represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan.
ADR had urged the top court to direct the Centre not to open any further window for sale of electoral bonds under the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, during the pendency of its writ petition. The petitioner said it filed an intervention application in March 2019 and also in November 2019. In October last year, the organisation filed an application for an early hearing in view of the upcoming Bihar elections then.
(With inputs from IANS)