: The NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (/topic/association-for-democratic-reforms) (ADR) on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court (/topic/supreme-court) seeking a stay on the sale of electoral bonds ahead of state assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Union Territory Puducherry.

The plea for urgent hearing of the case said that the sale of fresh electoral bonds should be stopped till the Supreme Court (/topic/supreme-court) decided the three pending petitions challenging Electoral Bond (/topic/electoral-bond) Scheme 2018 which granted anonymity to donors to political parties.

"There is a serious apprehension that any further sale of Electoral Bonds before the upcoming state elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam, would further increase illegal and illicit funding of political parties through shell companies. Thus, the petitioner seeks a direction that no further opening of window for the sale of Electoral Bonds be allowed during the pendency of the instant writ petition," the petition stated.

The fresh application is filed in an already pending petition filed by the NGO in 2017, challenging the provisions of Finance Act 2017 which paved the way for anonymous electoral bonds.

The petitioner NGO in its application stated that previously, on two occasions, the government opened special sale window of Electoral Bond (/topic/electoral-bond)s right before the State assembly elections, and so far more than Rs 6500 crores worth of Electoral Bond (/topic/electoral-bond)s have been sold with the majority of donations going to the ruling party. An electoral bond is an instrument in the nature of a promissory note or bearer bond which can be purchased by any individual, company, firm or association of persons provided the person or body is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. The bonds are issued specifically for the purpose of contribution of funds to political parties.

The electoral bond scheme was notified by the central government on January 2, 2018. 

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