New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to stay the sale of electoral bonds before Assembly elections in crucial States like Tamilnadu and West Bengal.
The judgment by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde said the scheme began in 2018 and continued in 2019 and 2020 without any impediments.
“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 court said.
Electoral bonds are financial instruments that political parties can use to gather funding, with their buyer remaining anonymous and transactions allowed only through the State Bank of India.
They were introduced by the Narendra Modi government in the Finance Bill-2017 as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organisation working in the area of electoral and political reforms, had moved the court seeking an interim stay on them between 1 and 10 April, alleging that front companies could use them to bribe parties.
On 24 March, the top court had flagged the issue of possible misuse of funds received through electoral bonds by political parties for illegal purposes like terrorism and asked the Centre whether there was any control over how these funds were put to use.