The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it will hear on December 6, a petition challenging the additional 15-day window for sale of electoral bonds in years when Assembly elections are scheduled in states and Union Territories, reported Bar and Bench.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala said it will hear the petition filed by Congress leader Jaya Thakur along with other pending pleas challenging the electoral bond scheme.
The judges refused to hear the fresh plea against the new 15-day window on an urgent basis.
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.
On November 7, the Union government had issued a fresh notification amending the electoral bond scheme to provide the additional window of 15 days. Later that day, the Centre made use of the amendment to open a fresh window for the sale of electoral bonds from November 9 to November 15, ahead of the elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Thakur has challenged this fresh notification in her petition.
Before the recent amendment, the bonds were available for purchase for a period of 10 days in the months of January, April, July and October. An additional 30 days window was allowed in the years of general elections.
Activists and non-governmental organisations have questioned the transparency of the bonds as 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.
However, the government has reasoned that the money is unlikely to be “black” since it has to be given by cheque.
Petitions against the scheme have been filed by two non-governmental organisations – Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause. The petitioners questioned why the government introduced the scheme through a Money Bill, thus bypassing the Rajya Sabha.