THE Supreme Court Friday refused to stay a further opening of the window for the sale of electoral bonds ahead of the scheduled state elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Assam.
A bench led by CJI SA Bobde passed this order while dismissing an interim application filed by the NGO ‘Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR) seeking to stay further opening of the window for the sale of electoral bonds.
The bench said it saw no reason to depart from the earlier interim order passed in April 2019 providing certain safeguards such as all political parties to give details of donors who contributed through electoral bonds as well as the amount received from them to the Election Commission of India (ECI) in a sealed envelope.
Appearing for the NGO ‘Association For Democratic Reforms (ADR), advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted that the sale of an electoral bond would further increase the illegal and illicit funding of political parties through shell companies.
Bhushan added that the Election Commission (EC) on 25.05.2018 and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) vide letters on 31.01.2017, 14.09.2017, 27.09.2017 had objected to electoral bonds and had advised against issuing them as a mode for donation to political parties.
An electoral bond, Bhushan argued, is like cash to a political party for a quid pro quo. Bhushan contended that electoral bonds were anonymous to others but not to the government which would know who the donor was as the State Bank of India (SBI) came under the purview of the Centre. Therefore, he argued that if the government wished to victimise a donor for donating to opponent parties, it could do so as it would know the identity of the donor.
The article was originally published in The Leaflet.
(Story to be updated once copy of the order is out on the court’s website.)