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19.03.2021
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NEW DELHI: On the first day of the Supreme Court permitting oral mentioning by advocates to seek urgent listing of pleas nearly a year after it stopped physical hearing due to Covid-19, lawyer Prashant Bhushan made the most on Thursday by convincing the court to hear two cases — electoral bonds and detention of Rohingya Muslims  in Jammu — next week.

Bhushan was the first to mention before the bench led by CJI S J Bobde, who then had to instruct court staff to allow others also to mention for urgent listing of important matters. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta followed suit, got a matter relating to possible jailing of a major general listed, and even got relief for the senior Army officer.

Bhushan said though the main petition challenging the government’s decision to periodically issue electoral bonds was pending, he was moving a fresh application seeking stay of the government decision to issue fresh electoral bonds from April 1. He said the court had earlier not stayed issuance of electoral bonds but had asked political parties to submit details of their accounts.

He said electoral bonds were used by the corrupt to park ill-gotten money with political parties and backed his submission by mentioning that both Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) and Election Commission had branded electoral bonds as detrimental to democracy.

On the Rohingya Muslims issue, Bhushan said they were refugees and it was illegal on the part of Jammu police to detain them. He said the worrisome development was the proposal to deport them back to Myanmar, where they would face genocide, especially since the Army has taken over through a coup.

Mehta said he had no objection for early hearing of the plea on Rohingyas but it would be wrong to suggest that their detention in Jammu was illegal. The SC said it would hear the electoral bonds plea on Wednesday and the Rohingya issue on Thursday next week.

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