SC refers electoral bonds case to 5-judge Constitution Bench

A five-judge Constitution bench will hear the pleas challenging the validity of the electoral bonds scheme due to the importance of the issue, the Supreme Court said on Monday, reported Bar and Bench.

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said that the court had received a plea to refer the case from the current three-judge bench to a larger bench of at least five judges.

Electoral bonds are monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups can buy from a bank and donate to a political party, which is then free to redeem these for money. The Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre introduced the electoral bonds scheme in January 2018.

The case against electoral bonds was filed in the Supreme Court by the Association for Democratic Reforms in September 2017, but has since been pending. In March, the Supreme Court said that it would consider if the petitions against electoral bonds are to be referred to the Constitution bench.

Last week, the top court had listed the final hearing of pleas on October 31.

At the hearing on October 10, Attorney General R Venkatramani had argued that one of the issues raised in the plea was that the electoral bonds scheme was introduced through a money bill. He said that the court is already hearing another petition challenging the rules pertaining to the passage of laws as money bills in Parliament.