Sunday 9 May 2021
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Supreme Court refuses to stay issuance of electoral bonds

The Supreme Court on 26 March rejected a plea seeking a stay on issuance of electoral bonds in April ahead of the assembly elections in five states. The Supreme Court bench of CJI SA Bobde said there are adequate safeguards in place.

The Supreme Court has refused to stay electoral bonds in April and said these bonds have been issued periodically since 2018. The Supreme Court bench of CJI SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramaniam rejected the plea against electoral bonds on 26 March.

The bench further said, “Bonds are released on periodical intervals. Have been released in 2018, 2019 and 2020. We do not see any justification for grant of stay on issuance of EBs.”

The Supreme Court had on 24 March flagged the issue of possible misuse of funds received through electoral bonds by political parties for illegal purposes like terrorism and asked the Centre whether there was any “control” over how these funds were put to use.

The Supreme Court bench told Attorney General KK Venugopal on 24 March that the government should look into this issue of possible misuse of funds received through electoral bonds for illegal purposes like terrorism.

“What is the control of the government on how the money is put to use,” the bench asked Venugopal.

The bench had the day before yesterday reserved its order on the plea seeking a direction to the Centre and others not to open any further window for sale of electoral bonds ahead of the upcoming assembly elections and during the pendency of a PIL pertaining to funding of political parties and alleged lack of transparency in their accounts.

The Election Commission, however, backed the sale of bonds but raised concerns over its transparency. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for EC said, “The Commission is supporting electoral bonds and not opposing it. If we don’t support it we will go into a pre-existing system of receiving donations through cash. Electoral bonds go one step forward as all bonds have to be obtained from the bank only. This way there is accountability. But we are also asking for transparency. That can be considered later by the Court.”

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