The Central government on Friday defended the Electoral Bond scheme, by saying it is the most “transparent” way for political funding, and there is “no scope of black money”.
“The methodology of receiving the money is so transparent, now it’s impossible to get black or unaccounted money,” submitted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, before a bench headed by Justice BR Gawai, and also comprising Justice BV Nagarathna.
The Solicitor General also told the bench that the court should go into what the actual system of electoral bond is.
While Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the petitioners explained the challenge. “Three important interconnected questions which would go to the roots of the Democracy. The issues are — Electoral Bonds, whether political parties come under RTI and third is, whether donations to public servants can be granted beyond the scope of FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010),” Bhushan argued.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal argued that the electoral bonds are an opaque structure and more transparency is required. “In opaque way of funding of political parties…this is a matter which shall be heard by a larger bench,” Sibal said.
Bhushan also said the matter needs urgent consideration as schedule for the upcoming elections will be announced today.
The Supreme Court also said it would examine on December 6 whether a batch of pleas challenging laws permitting funding of political parties through the electoral bond scheme should be referred to a larger bench.
The court is hearing a petition filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The matter last came up in the court on March 26, 2021, when a bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde dismissed an application filed by ADR seeking a stay on any fresh sale of electoral bonds ahead of the Assembly elections that were due at the time.