The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that the batch of petitions challenging the controversial Electoral Bonds scheme would be listed for final hearing on October 31 this year [Association for Democratic Reforms and anr vs Union of India Cabinet Secretary and ors]..A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud with Justices JB Paridwala and Manoj Misra said on Tuesday that the matter will be heard on November 1 as well if the hearing does not conclude on October 31. The move comes nearly six years after the petitions challenging the scheme were filed before the top court in 2017."Petitioner's counsel and Attorney General have made preliminary submissions. Mr. (Prashant) Bhushan (petitioner's counsel) submits that they wish to open the matter. Compilations have been filed. If further submissions to be made, it is to be filed by Saturday. Soft copies to be compiled by nodal counsel. Matter to be listed for final hearing on October 31 and should there be a spill over it shall continue till November 1," the order said.The Court decided to list the matter after a brief discussion on whether it should defer the hearing until a Constitution Bench of the Court decides the law with regard to the passage of Acts as money bills. Money bills can be passed without the assent of the Rajya Sabha and the electoral bonds scheme was also introduced by way of a money bill. "Are you pressing the money bill issue? If you want us to hear this without the money bill one, then fine, else money bill is before the seven-judge bench," CJI Chandrachud said."If the money bill issue is decided within 2 months, then it can be taken up after that," said advocate Prashant Bhushan who was appearing for the petitioners, Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause"We cannot predict the same since the matters are listed for seven judges for directions," said the CJI. The petitioners then said that they would prefer to have the matter heard instead of waiting for the Constitution bench to decide the money bill issue..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, which are in multiple denominations, are issued specifically for the purpose of contributing funds to political parties in its existing scheme.Electoral bonds were introduced through the Finance Act, 2017, which in turn amended three other statutes - the RBI Act, the Income Tax Act and the Representation of People Act - to enable the introduction of such bonds.The 2017 Finance Act introduced a system by which electoral bonds could be issued by any scheduled bank for the purpose of electoral funding.The Finance Act was passed as a money bill, which meant that it did not require the assent of the Rajya Sabha.Various petitions are pending before the top court challenging at least five amendments made to different statutes through the Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that they have opened doors to unlimited, unchecked funding of political parties.The petitions have also raised the ground that the Finance Act could not have been passed as a money bill. .The Central government in its counter-affidavit has maintained that the electoral bonds scheme is transparent.The top court had in March 2021 dismissed an application seeking a stay on the scheme..During the hearing today, the bench raised queries regarding the nature of the instrument."Can it be purchased by bank or cash? if its bank, then source of channel is banking channel and that identity is anonymous, but cash is completely anonymous," asked CJI Chandrachud."It is both," said advocate Prashant Bhushan who was appearing for the petitioner."So electoral bond is like a bearer bond. It is in the person's name or bearer bond," asked the CJI."Bearer bond in a limited sense that the person entitled to encash is by a recognised political party," said advocate Shadan Farasat also appearing for the petitioner."Ok, encashment by a political party who got at least 1 percent vote the last time. We got it and now the challenge is very clear," the CJI said.The Court eventually proceeded to list the case for hearing on October 31.