New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Friday agreed to hear a plea on the legality of electoral bonds but refused to grant an interim stay on the scheme. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a not-for-profit organization, is seeking a stay on the scheme, alleging that political donations are being made anonymously.

ADR has also voiced concerns over amendments made to several laws to bring into effect the electoral bond scheme.

The amendments vitiate the objective of ensuring transparency in the funding of political parties, the organization has said.

The Election Commission had in the last week of March filed an affidavit in Supreme Court, submitting that the electoral bond scheme would have a serious impact on transparency in political funding.

The government then filed a counter-affidavit negating these concerns.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the submissions of both the parties needed to be heard at length and ordered for the case to be heard next on 10 April.

The electoral bond scheme was introduced by the centre through a notification on 2 January 2018. The scheme allows any Indian citizen or a body incorporated in India to purchase bonds from State Bank of India for any value to make donations to a political party of their choice.

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The bond does not carry the name of the donor for donations of less than 20,000. The identity of such donors is known only to the bank. The centre introduced the bond stating that it was an endeavour to cleanse political funding. However, critics argue that the anonymity of donors compromises any such stated objective.

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