New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the sale of electoral bonds for Assembly polls in four States and one Union Territory, citing enough safeguards.
The electoral bonds were slated to go on sale from April 1 to 10 as West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry are going for Assembly elections. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India S ABobde rejected the petition filed by the NGO Association of Democratic Reforms seeking directions from the Top Court to hold the sale.
The petitioner, through senior Advocate PrashantBhushan, claimed that the electoral bonds promote bribes as the identity of the donor is kept hidden while the maximum donation goes to the party in power.
However, the bench, also comprising of Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanium, stated the bonds were sold earlier too and have enough safeguards.
“Since the bonds were allowed to be released in 2018 and 2019 without interruption and sufficient safeguards are there, there is no justification to stay the electoral bonds at present,” the bench stated as quoted by Live Law.
The Election Commission of India and the Central Government had favored the electoral bonds, calling it a medium that prevents black money circulation and promotes transparency.
Electoral bonds were introduced by the Central Government in 2017. As per the scheme, anyone can buy the bonds for any party from the State Bank of India during the sale of the bonds, which can be encashed by the party later. The validity of the bonds is for 15 days.