The Supreme Court said on Thursday it would take up on March 24 a plea by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) to restrain the authorities from opening any further window for sale of electoral bonds during pendency of its PIL on the issue.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde agreed to hear it next week after ADR counsel Prashant Bhushan said the issue needed to be considered in view of ensuing assembly polls in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

Bhushan said the PIL has pending for the last two years and the RBI and Election Commission had said that illicit monies were being transacted. He said on April 1, the bonds will be issued and hence, the case needed an urgent hearing.

The top court had earlier asked the political parties to submit their account statements to the poll panel in sealed covers, Bhushan replied.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said Attorney General KK Venugopal would appear in the case.

Citing ensuing assembly polls ADR had on March 9 moved the Supreme Court seeking urgent hearing of its PIL challenging the Electoral Bonds Scheme for funding political parties.

Contending that there was a serious apprehension that further sale of Electoral Bonds before the upcoming state assembly elections would further increase “illegal and illicit funding” of political parties through shell companies, the NGO demanded that no further opening of window for the sale of Electoral Bonds should be allowed during the pendency of its petition.

A similar plea was filed by ADR in October last year ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls that were held in November 2020.

The NGO’s petition against the 2018 Electoral Bonds Scheme is already pending before the top court which had earlier refused to stay it ahead of Delhi assembly polls earlier this year.

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