Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging voter bond system on Friday

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Campaign bonds have been touted as an alternative to cash donations to political parties as part of efforts to ensure transparency in political financing.

Campaign bonds have been touted as an alternative to cash donations to political parties as part of efforts to ensure transparency in political financing.

The Supreme Court is due to hear a series of pleas Friday challenging laws allowing political party funding through the voter bond system.

Campaign bonds have been touted as an alternative to cash donations to political parties as part of efforts to ensure transparency in political financing.

A bench of judges BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna is likely to take over the PILs by the NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other petitioners.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO, had mentioned the case before the CJI NV Ramana on April 5, saying that the matter was critical and required an urgent hearing.

The High Court had agreed to list the NGO’s request for a hearing, but it was not presented to any court.

Earlier, Mr Bhushan applied for an urgent registration of the PIL with the Supreme Court on October 4 last year, asking the Center not to open any more campaign bond sale windows while a related case is pending funding policies. parties and the alleged lack of transparency of their accounts.

The NGO, which had filed the PIL in 2017 on the alleged issue of corruption and subversion of democracy through illicit and foreign funding of political parties and the lack of transparency in the accounts of all political parties, had filed a tentative request in March this year ahead of assembly polls in West Bengal and Assam calling for the election bond sale window not to be reopened.

The NGO, in its new application filed in the pending petition, had claimed that there was a serious fear that any further sale of election bonds ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, including in West Bengal and Assam. , further increases the illegal and illicit financing of political parties through shell companies.

On January 20 last year, the Supreme Court declined to grant an interim suspension of the 2018 Election Bond Program and requested responses from the Center and Election Commission on an interim application by the NGO seeking the suspension of the program.

The government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme on January 2, 2018.

According to the provisions of the program, election bonds can be purchased by a person who is an Indian citizen or incorporated or established in India. A person can buy election bonds, either alone or jointly with other people.

Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act 1951 and which obtained at least one percent of the vote in the last general election for the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of state are eligible to receive electoral ties.

According to the notification, election vouchers can only be cashed by an eligible political party through a bank account with an authorized bank.

The Supreme Court had in April 2019 declined to suspend the Center’s 2018 Election Bond Program and made it clear that it would grant a full plea hearing because the Center and the EC raised “significant issues” that had “a significant impact on the sanctity of the electoral process in the country”.

The Center and the EC had previously taken opposing positions in court on political finance, with the government wanting to maintain the anonymity of bond donors and the polling panel fighting over revealing donors’ names for transparency.

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