SC issues notice to centre on CPM’s challenge to introduction of electoral bonds


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the centre on a plea challenging introduction of electoral bonds in elections.

As the court agreed to hear the petition brought by Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM and its general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, it was tagged with a similar pending matter.

Yechury claimed that the party was left with no choice but to move the Supreme Court. He added that the party had sought amendments to the bill when the government had moved the proposal for its introduction in Parliament.

The Finance Act, 2017 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 1 February as a money bill. It introduced a system of electoral bonds to be issued by any scheduled bank for the purpose of electoral funding.

On 23 October, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had sought a response from the centre and the Election Commission on a similar plea by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and NGO Common Cause challenging amendments in the Finance Act, 2017 including legitimising electoral bonds for elections.

The wide-ranging amendments in the statutes were brought in as a money bill, bypassing the Rajya Sabha, and were passed with very little or no debate in Parliament.

The petition had claimed that legitimizing electoral corruption would adversely affect electoral transparency and make the nexus between politics and corporate houses more opaque and subject to misuse by corporate houses and lobby groups.

The amendments are also “patently arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory” as they attempt to keep from the citizens crucial information regarding electoral funding, it was added.livemint