The Supreme Court will hear a long-pending case against the government’s electoral bonds scheme on September 19, Live Law reported on Thursday.
The petition filed by Non Governmental Organisation Association for Democratic Reforms has been listed in the advance cause list for that day.
Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from a bank and donate to any eligible political party, which can then redeem them for money.
Former Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced this scheme in his Budget speech in 2017, claiming the government wanted to clean up political funding and make it a transparent process.
However, the entire process is anonymous since no one is required to declare their purchase of these interest-free bonds and political parties do not need to show the source of the money. The government had contended that the money is unlikely to be “black” since it has to be given by cheque.
The case last came up for hearing before the Supreme Court on March 26, 2021. At that time, a bench headed by then Chief Justice of India SA Bobde had dismissed an application by Association for Democratic Reforms, demanding that any fresh sale of electoral bonds be stayed.
The NGO had filed the application ahead of Assembly elections that were held in four states and one Union Territory.
In March 2021, the Supreme Court had questioned the petitioner’s claim that the buyers of the bonds had “complete anonymity”, The Indian Express reported. The court had remarked that “it is not as though the operations under the scheme are behind iron curtains incapable of being pierced”.
The court noted that on April 12, 2019, it had directed political parties to submit details to the Election Commission about electoral bonds that they had received.
On April 5, former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had agreed to hear the case after the matter was mentioned by lawyer Prashant Bhushan. However, the case did not get listed during his tenure.