SC posts petitions against electoral bonds for hearing in March

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday posted petitions challenging the 2018 Electoral Bonds Scheme for hearing in the third week of March this year.
A bench presided by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, which took up the batch of petitions Tuesday, noted that they raised three separate issues—a challenge to electoral bonds, whether political parties should be brought under the ambit of the RTI Act, and amendments made to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
The bench, also comprising Justice P S Narasimha, accordingly decided to hear the three issues separately and said while the challenge to the scheme will be taken up in the third week of March, the petitions for bringing political parties under RTI Act will be heard in the first week of April followed by those against the FCRA amendments in the middle of April.
The court asked the Centre to file any additional affidavit, if it wanted to, in the matter.
The matter was heard last on December 15, 2022, by a bench presided by Justice B R Gavai.
While the Centre has termed the scheme “a big step towards electoral reform” which “will ensure transparency” and “accountability”, opponents of the move contend it affects transparency in political funding as it allows political parties not to disclose their annual contribution reports to the Election Commission of India (ECI), details of the identity of those who have donated through the Electoral Bonds.
In April 2019, a three-judge bench of the court had in an interim order directed political parties, which received donations through Electoral Bonds, to “forthwith” submit the details of these bonds to ECI.


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