NEW DELHI—In light of the revelations made by HuffPost India in its ongoing series about the electoral bonds scheme as well as the Supreme Court’s judgement last week in the Finance Bill 2017 case, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said his party will approach the top court again to stay the controversial scheme that, he believes, is “distorting Indian democracy”.
“It is a wonderful expose and it completely vindicates our apprehensions over this entire scheme. Because I was there in parliament when this (electoral bonds scheme) was smuggled through the Finance Bill and I remember listing out all these apprehensions which are now coming out to be true with your stories, with your exposures,” said Yechury, speaking with HuffPost India on Tuesday evening.
He listed what those apprehensions were. First is that the electoral bonds scheme is legalising political corruption and second, it is “completely unaccountable” because except for the banks and the government, nobody knows who purchased the bonds and unless the parties themselves declare, it would be unclear as to which political party collected them.
“The former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament noted that this series had begun less than a week after the SC gave its verdict against the Narendra Modi-led government in the Finance Bill 2017 case and gives the party an additional reason to approach the court again.”
The former Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament noted that this series had begun less than a week after the SC gave its verdict against the Narendra Modi-led government in the Finance Bill 2017 case and gives the party an additional reason to approach the court again. That is because it was through the Finance Bill 2017 that the Narendra Modi government had passed its controversial electoral bonds scheme.
The CPI(M) is, thus far, the only political party to have filed a petition in India’s top court seeking a stay on the controversial electoral bonds scheme. The SC has yet to pass a final order in the matter.
It was in this context that Yechury said, “So the Aadhar judgement will have a bearing on this, on our petition, as well. We are examining how we can incorporate that and file an additional affidavit in the court.”
He also said that the CPI(M) will raise this in parliament along with other opposition parties, “But the focus would be primarily on trying to get an immediate stay on the operation of electoral bonds from the court before the final disposal of the case because the constitution bench will take some time.”
Yechury recalled that, while the Finance Bill 2017 was being passed, “In the parliament I had raised it then, that’s on record of parliament and the government of the day assured that they will look into the matter. I had raised it and I had said, this must be taken to the courts for clarification. Or I demanded that 110(3) must be scrapped. Because the constitution clearly defines what can be a money bill and what cannot be a money bill. So why do you want this ambiguous clause? And this is what is being misused grossly to bypass the Rajya Sabha.”
Clause one and two of the Article 110 of the Indian constitution clearly define what can and cannot be termed as a “money bill”. Yechury said it was the third clause of the same article—which permits the speaker of the lower house to decide what is a money bill when there is confusion—that was being “misused” and therefore must be “scrapped”.