New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea seeking a stay on the electoral bond scheme meant for funding political parties.

The top court, however, refused to grant an interim stay on the electoral bond scheme.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant asked the Centre and the Election Commission to file their responses within two weeks to the interim application filed by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms for staying the scheme.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, alleged that the scheme is a means for channelising unaccounted black money in favour of the ruing party.

Also read: Electoral Bond Scheme Results in Visible Dip in Transparent Corporate Donations

Bhushan also referred to a document of the RBI while seeking stay of the scheme.

“We will see that. We are listing it after two weeks,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the EC, said all these arguments have already been advanced earlier and sought four weeks time to reply to the plea of the NGO against the scheme.

Over the last few months, multiple reports have shown that the Narendra Modi government pushed through the electoral bonds scheme despite serious doubts and disagreements from the Reserve Bank of India and Election Commission. RTI queries also revealed that the government did not follow its own rules and regulations while implementing the scheme.

Critics have said that the scheme goes against democratic values as it makes political funding even more opaque.

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