Supreme Court (PTI)

It has been about five years since the Central government’s electoral bonds scheme had been challenged in the Supreme Court, but it is yet to decide on it. The scheme was introduced as a “money bill” in the Union Budget of 2017 so that it could not be debated and voted on in the Rajya Sabha. Essentially, the scheme allows anyone — including foreign governments and foreign companies and even criminal elements — to anonymously donate unlimited sums to political parties in India. The Reserve Bank of India had objected to the scheme, saying that a bearer bond was essentially cash, but the government overruled the objection and went ahead and implemented it. The Supreme Court has not taken up the matter and decided on it.

It has been over two years since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed and challenged in the Supreme Court as being in violation of the Constitution. Union home minister Amit Shah had said that it was the first part of a pincer, along with the National Register of Citizens, which would then go after what he said were “termites”. Readers will of course remember a massive protest against it in all of India’s cities after the CAA was passed. For some reason, the Supreme Court decided not to hear this matter either.

Around the same time, the status of Jammu and Kashmir was changed and though Article 370 was not abrogated, it was hollowed out. Kashmir lost its status as a state, it was demoted to a Union territory, Ladakh was separated from it (causing a problem with China, though that is another issue) and Kashmir’s elected representatives were dismissed and many of them jailed. The Supreme Court did not hear or decide the habeas corpus pleas of the detained Kashmiri leaders, including former CM Mehbooba Mufti. Our highest court has still not decided whether all this was constitutional. It has not shown any urgency in the cases that many people think it should have.

On divisive laws that the government favours, such as the so-called “love jihad” laws passed by seven BJP-ruled states after 2018, the Supreme Court has chosen to not hear petitions challenging them. These laws essentially criminalise marriages between Hindus and Muslims but this is not seen as an important enough matter to be heard quickly.

Much noise was made by the court about the farm laws, but after setting up a committee, the matter was forgotten till the government itself withdraw the three controversial laws. On the Pegasus spyware issue, the current Chief Justice has said some very strong things but it has been a year since the victims of the criminal hack have moved court, but nothing of significance has happened. In fact, the government refused to file an affidavit though the court asked it to reveal whether it was using this surveillance weapon on the media, the Opposition, its own ministers and the judiciary.

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here