No Stay on Electoral Bonds for Delhi Polls, SC Gives Centre and Election Commission 2 Weeks to Reply
The plea filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan’s Association for Democratic Reforms has contended that electoral bonds have opened a flood gate of anonymous corporate donations that can have serious repercussions on democracy of India.
News18 creative by Mir Suhail.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to pass any order on immediately staying electoral bonds in the run-up to the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde instead gave two weeks to the central government and the Election Commission of India to submit their replies on a plea to stay the operation of the electoral bonds.
"Why didn't you come earlier if you had Delhi elections in mind? We are not on merits today. It is only about how much time we should give to the other side for filing their replies," Justice Bobde told advocate Prashant Bhushan.
Bhushan was appearing for the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which has pressed for an immediate stay on electoral bonds till its validity is finally decided by the top court.
Bhushan, on Monday, said an urgent order was required in view of the elections in Delhi where this 'anonymous' mode of funding will again be used as a source of funding.
"We have now discovered some very important documents to show why electoral bonds must be stopped immediately," contended Bhushan, while citing ADR's application.
Representing the Election Commission, senior lawyer Rakesh Dwivedi, however, said that they would want to put in a formal reply and asked for four weeks.
The bench finally gave the Commission as well as the Centre two weeks to file their responses.
ADR's application was filed in November 2019, and asked for a stay on the 2018 scheme based on certain RTI replies and media reports.
The plea claimed that the RBI had opposed amendments to the RBI Act and the Finance Bill, 2017 as also introduction of the electoral bonds scheme.
It contended that the electoral bonds have opened a flood gate of anonymous corporate donations that can have serious repercussions on democracy of India.
Objections raised by the Election Commission as well as by the Union Law Ministry were also cited in ADR's application to buttress its prayer for a stay.
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