SC refuses interim stay on electoral bonds, seeks Centre, EC response within 2 weeks

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The Supreme Court today refused to grant a stay on the electoral bond scheme.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre and Election Commission's response on a plea seeking a stay on the electoral bond scheme. While refusing to grant a stay on the scheme, the top court sought a reply within two weeks in this regard.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant asked the Centre and the Election Commission to submit their responses to the interim application filed by NGO 'Association for Democratic Reforms' for staying the scheme.

Appearing for the NGO, advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged that the scheme is a means for channelising unaccounted black money in favour of the ruling party. He also referred to a document of the Reserve Bank of India while seeking a stay on the scheme.

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Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who appeared for the election body, said all these arguments have already been advanced earlier and sought four weeks time to reply to the plea of the NGO against the scheme.

"We will see that. We are listing it after two weeks," the bench said.

The plea claims that the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, has opened the floodgates of unlimited corporate donations to political parties and anonymous financing by Indian as well as foreign companies that can have serious repercussions on democracy in the country.

It also said that certain amendments made in Finance Act, 2017 and earlier Finance Act, 2016, both passed as money bills, have opened doors to unlimited political donations, even from foreign companies and thereby legitimizing electoral corruption at a huge scale, while at the same time ensuring complete non-transparency in political funding.

(With PTI inputs)