A decision on whether electoral bonds can be bought and sold before the coming round of assembly elections will be made by the Supreme Court on Friday. The matter had come up before the top court with a petition, which asked that the sale of electoral bonds not be allowed before the court takes a decision on funding of political parties and the alleged lack of transparency in their accounts.
The sale of electoral bonds – the key mode of funding for political parties – is expected to begin on April 1.
Elections in four states – Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bengal – and the Union Territory of Puducherry will begin on Saturday. The counting of notes will take place on May 2.
Flagging the possible misuse of funds received through electoral bonds by political parties, the court had asked the Centre if there was any “control” over how these funds were used.
The government, the court said, should look into this issue of possible misuse of these funds for terrorism and other purposes.
The bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde had reserved its order.
Earlier, appearing for the petitioner, non-profit Association for Democratic Reforms, lawyer-activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan said the plea has not been listed for hearing for two years.
Citing the urgency of the matter in view of the coming election, Mr Bhushan had said the Reserve Bank of India and the Election Commission have spoken of illicit funds being used and its detrimental effect on the economy.
The court had earlier asked the political parties to submit their account statements to the Election Commission in sealed covers.