Plea in SC for confiscation of money received by political parties under Electoral Bonds scheme

'It is submitted that the amount received by the political parties through electoral bonds was neither 'donation' nor 'voluntary contribution'; rather it was 'barter money' received from various corporate houses by way of 'quid pro quo' for the undue benefits granted at the cost of the public exchequer,' the plea alleged.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 17:15 IST

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New Delhi: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a direction to confiscate the money received by political parties under the Electoral Bonds Scheme, which was declared unconstitutional by the apex court in February.

The plea filed by Khem Singh Bhati also sought a direction to set up a committee headed by a former judge of the apex court to investigate the alleged "illegal benefits" conferred on the donors by public authorities.

The petitioner pointed out that on February 15, 2024, the Supreme Court had struck down electoral bonds scheme as it was violative of Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution.

The plea also claimed the details of the purchase and encashment of the electoral bonds clearly show that money paid through electoral bonds by the companies to the political parties, “was either to avoid criminal prosecution or to get monetary advantage by way of contract or other policy matters”.

In April also, a PIL was filed jointly by NGOs 'Common Cause' and 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' through advocate Prashant Bhushan which claimed the bulk of the bonds appeared to have been given as quid pro quo arrangements by corporates to political parties for getting contracts or licences or leases or clearances or approvals worth thousands and sometimes lakhs of crores.

The plea asked the Supreme Court to direct an SIT probe into alleged pay offs and quid pro quo arrangements between corporates and governments, "shockingly, in conspiracy with investigative and regulatory bodies, as revealed in donations made to political parties through the Electoral Bonds Scheme".

On PILs by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms and others, the Supreme Court's five-judge Constitution bench had on February 15, 2024 quashed the Electoral Bonds scheme and directed the SBI to provide all the data related to it to the Election Commission for uploading on its website.

It was revealed that electoral bonds worth about Rs 16,518 crore were encashed by the political parties.

Published 06 July 2024, 17:15 IST

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