Electoral bonds scheme: Plea in Supreme Court seeks review of verdict

A petition has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking review of its February 15 verdict, scrapping Narendra Modi government’s electoral bonds scheme of anonymous political funding.

The review petition lodged by advocate Mathews J. Nedumpara submitted that the Supreme Court entertained the plea against the scheme and struck down the law and the scheme without noticing that in doing so it is acting as an appellate authority over Parliament, substituting its wisdom on a matter which falls in the exclusive province of legislative and executive policy.

Nedumpara in his plea stated that the court failed to notice that even assuming the issue is justiciable, the petitioners therein having not claimed any specific legal injury exclusive to them, their plea could not have been decided as if a private litigation for the enforcement of rights which are specific and exclusive to them.

He further said the Court failed to notice that the public opinion could be sharply divided and the majority of the people of this country could probably be in support of the scheme, brought into existence by their elected representatives and that they too have a right to be heard, as much as the PIL/writ petitioners.

The plea added that the court failed to notice that, if at all it is venturing into the forbidden domain of adjudicating upon a matter of legislative policy, they have a responsibility to hear the public at large and that the proceedings ought to be converted into representative proceedings.

Mentioning that the 2018 electoral bond scheme was violative of the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression and right to information, a five-judge Constitution bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud had scrapped the scheme.

Stating the scheme to be erroneous, the top court rejected the Centre’s argument that it protects confidentiality of the contributor which is akin to the system of secret ballot. The scheme, which was notified by the government on January 2, 2018, was said to be an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.

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