On Tuesday, 26 March, the Supreme Court was supposed to hear petitions challenging the constitutionality of the electoral bonds scheme, which came into operation from 2 January 2018. The matter has now been adjourned to 2 April.
The scheme allows individuals or corporations to purchase electoral bonds, which can then be provided to political parties. The bonds are bearer instruments, so the political parties just need to deposit them in their accounts to obtain the amount – the donor remains anonymous.
The Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause had filed a petition against the scheme in the Supreme Court after it was brought into law in the Finance Act 2017, in which they argue the scheme is “unconstitutional, illegal and void.”
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPI(M) – also filed a petition against the scheme in 2018, in which they have argued that the scheme encourages corruption and removes safeguards meant to ensure transparency in electoral funding.
The Centre filed an affidavit in the apex court on 14 March 2019 in which it has argued that the scheme actually promotes transparency, and keeping donors anonymous is for their benefit.
Here is everything you need to know about the arguments, and the issues that the Supreme Court needs to consider.