SC to examine on December 6 if pleas against electoral bond need scrutiny by larger bench; SG calls the scheme ‘very transparent’

The Supreme Court on Friday said it would examine on December 6 whether a batch of pleas challenging laws permitting funding of political parties through the electoral bond scheme should be referred to a larger bench.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna said this is an important matter and sought assistance of the Attorney General and Solicitor General in the matter.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before the bench that the methodology of receiving money through electoral bonds is very transparent.

Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.

The top court was hearing the PILs by NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other petitioners.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, on April 5 had mentioned the matter before the then CJI N V Ramana, saying the issue was critical and needed an urgent hearing.

The top court had agreed to list the NGO’s plea for hearing but it did not come up before any court.

Earlier, Bhushan had sought an urgent listing of the PIL from the apex court on October 4 last year seeking a direction to the Centre not to open any further window for sale of electoral bonds during the pendency of a case pertaining to funding of political parties and alleged lack of transparency in their accounts.

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