NEW DELHI: With the government maintaining that electoral bonds were launched to prevent black money flowing to political parties, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim stay on the bonds.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said the issue required a detailed hearing and, therefore, it would take up the plea on April 10.
“You have not filed an appropriate application for interim stay. You file the application, we will take up the matter on April 10,” the bench told advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
During the brief hearing, Bhushan alleged that thousands of crores of rupees were anonymously being given to political parties through electoral bonds and sought an interim stay as a recent survey has suggested that 95 per cent of electoral bonds were given to the ruling party.
Citing the affidavit of the Election Commission, Bhushan said that even the poll panel had opposed the scheme, underlining that the changes made in the law will have serious repercussions on the transparent funding of political parties.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, opposed the contentions of Bhushan, and said that the scheme was introduced to check the flow of black money into political parties and blamed Bhushan for giving an election speech in court.
This led the CJI to remark, “It’s election time. We will hear the plea on April 10.”
The petition by ADR has sought a stay on the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, which was notified by the Centre in January last year.
The matter assumes importance as the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) have taken contrary stands, with the former justifying the decision, saying it would promote transparency in political funding while the latter maintaining that the changes made in the law would have serious repercussions.