Supreme Court refuses to grant stay on electoral bonds

95 per cent of bonds sold so far have been in favour of BJP, alleges Bhushan.

New Delhi: With advocate Prashant Bhushan alleging that 95 per cent of the electoral bonds sold so far to the tune of Rs 2,000 crore have been in favour of the BJP in the form of kickbacks before the elections, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on April 10 his plea for stay on issue of such bonds.

A three-judge bench of chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna directed that the petitions filed by Association for Democratic Reforms, Common Cause and the CPM challenging the electoral bond scheme for donations to political parties be listed for final hearing on April 10.

When Mr Bhushan pres-sed for stay on issue of such bonds, the CJI said it would be taken up on April 10 and asked him to file an application in this regard.

Mr Bhushan pointed out to the court that 95 per cent of the electoral bonds sold so far to the tune of Rs 2,000 crores have been in favour of one political party (BJP) that is the ruling party, which are definitely in the form of kickbacks before the elections.

He also stated that most of the bonds that have been purchased since 2018 have been of the denominations of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore indicating that it is not common citizens but corporates that have been purchasing these bonds while enjoying complete anonymity accorded by the Electoral Bond scheme.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal strongly opposed Mr Bhushan’s submissions and said “he is making an election speech”, to which the Chief Justice quipped, “it is election time”.

The AG called out the counsel for the petitioner for apparently representing the interests of his political affiliation. “He is doing it for his party... Congress”, said the AG.

The petitioners stated that these electoral bonds are being made available for a large number of days in three months leading to general elections scheduled to be held in the country in the coming two months i.e. in April-May 2019.

It is expected that political parties would receive enormous amount of corporate funding in April and May and this would play a critical role in polls.

Mr Bhushan pointed out that only the total amount of donations to political parties has to be disclosed without the name of the political party.

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