Tambaram: After a gap of more than two years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed October 31 and November 1 to finally hear a clutch of petitions that have challenged the validity of the central government’s electoral bonds (EB) scheme as a source of political funding.
A bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, clarified that the arguments in the matter will be wrapped up over the two dates , directing the Centre and other parties to submit their written submissions in the meantime.
The bench, which also included justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said the issue of whether some of the amendments that made the issue of these bonds possible should have been passed as a money bill (the route taken by the government), will not be heard by the bench because a seven-judge bench is hearing a separate case on when a bill can be designated a money bill, and that the adjudication of the EB scheme will confine itself to a raft of other issues flagged by the petitioners.
During the brief proceedings on Monday, advocates Prashant Bhushan and Shadan Farasat, highlighted the chief grounds of challenge to the EB scheme, arguing that the funding is anonymous at various levels: identity of donors is not known; the amount donated by each of such donors is kept under wraps; and even shareholders are not apprised of the details of their company’s donation to the political parties.
Bhushan appeared for a petition filed jointly by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and non-profit Common Cause in 2017 while Farasat represented the Communist Party of India (Marxist).