NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha on Tuesday decided to hear in the third week of March a batch of petitions, challenging the government’s electoral bond scheme allowing anonymous funding of the political parties.
The SC said petitions on the electoral bonds scheme, bringing political parties within the ambit of the Right to Information Act and those challenging amendments in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) will be heard separately.
The bench said the petitions raise three separate issues and hence, the need to hear them separately. One set of petitions challenges the laws permitting funding of political parties through the electoral bond scheme, while the second set seeks to bring parties under the purview of the transparency law, the Right to Information Act. The third set of PILs challenges the amendment made by the Central government into the FCRA, 2010 through the Finance Act of 2016 and 2018. The amended FCRA purportedly permits political parties to receive foreign donations.
"The petitions in the present batch are bifurcated with reference to the above three challenges. The three sets of the petitions need to be heard separately," the bench said in its order. The bench also asked the Centre to file its responses to some petitions including the old ones.
It said the pleas seeking to bring political parties under the RTI will be heard in the first week of April. “The third batch concerning the FCRA Amendments will be heard in mid-April,” the CJI said.
As many as seven petitions including the one filed by NGO 'Association for Democratic Reforms' were listed on Tuesday for hearing.
Electoral bonds have been pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring in transparency in political funding.
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