The Supreme Court today rejected the plea by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, ADR, for a stay on issuance of electoral bonds, scheduled from April 1st to 10th, amid the assembly elections in five states.
The plea was heard by a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
The apex court said that the electoral bonds had been issued several times before and that there is no evidence that has brought about its adverse impact on elections.
The Supreme Court added that no interim order is required in the case as it had earlier issued certain interim orders, including directing political parties to submit details of donations received through electoral bonds in sealed cover to EC. The bench had reserved the order in the case on March 24 after hearing arguments from all the parties in the case.
The plea of NGO had said the sale of fresh electoral bonds should be stopped till the top court decided the three pending petitions challenging Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 which granted anonymity to donors to political parties.
The Electoral Bonds are interest-free bearer instruments used to donate money anonymously to political parties. It is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company and then they can donate the same to any political party of their choice.
The bonds are sold in multiples of Rs 1,000, 10,000, 1 lakh, 10 lakh, and 1 crore. The State Bank of India is the only bank authorized to sell the Electoral Bonds. It is sold at 29 specified SBI branches in cities including New Delhi, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata and Guwahati.
Political Parties can encash the bonds through their verified accounts within 15 days. There is no limit on the number of bonds an individual or company can purchase.
Only the registered Political Parties which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha or the state Assembly elelctions, will be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. The Electoral Bond scheme was announced in the 2017.