होम News Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bond Scheme

Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bond Scheme

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The recent landmark decision by the Supreme Court of India has sent shockwaves through the political landscape. In a unanimous ruling, the Court struck down the controversial Electoral Bond Scheme, highlighting significant constitutional violations and implications. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this verdict and its wide-ranging consequences.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bond Scheme

1. Overview of the Supreme Court Verdict

Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bond Scheme

Background of the Electoral Bond Scheme

The Electoral Bond Scheme, introduced by the government, aimed to enable anonymous political donations. However, its legality came under scrutiny due to concerns regarding transparency and accountability in political funding.

Importance of the Verdict

The Court’s ruling holds immense significance as it addresses fundamental rights and principles crucial for a democratic society.

2. Key Takeaways from the Verdict

Violation of the Right to Information

The Court emphasized that the scheme infringed upon the right to information guaranteed by the Constitution. By allowing anonymous donations, it undermined transparency in political funding, essential for holding the government accountable.

Lack of Proportionality in Curbing Black Money

While the government argued that the scheme aimed to curb black money, the Court found it disproportionate. Alternative methods, such as caps on donations and Electoral Trusts, could achieve the objective without infringing on fundamental rights.

Limits on Donor Privacy

The verdict clarified that the right to privacy does not extend to contributions made as a quid pro quo measure. It distinguished between genuine political support and contributions aimed at influencing policies.

Corporate Donations and Free Elections

The Court deemed unlimited corporate donations authorized by amendments to the Companies Act as arbitrary. Such provisions could allow undue influence of corporations in the electoral process, jeopardizing the principles of free and fair elections.

Amendments to Representation of the People Act

Certain amendments exempting donations through electoral bonds from disclosure requirements were also struck down. The Court reinstated the importance of transparency in political funding.

3. Implications of the Verdict

Impact on Political Funding

The verdict will likely reshape the landscape of political funding, promoting transparency and accountability. Political parties may need to reconsider their fundraising strategies.

Transparency in Electoral Process

With the removal of anonymity in political donations, voters can make more informed decisions, ensuring a fairer electoral process.

Future of Electoral Financing

The ruling opens avenues for reform in electoral financing, encouraging policymakers to devise more transparent and equitable mechanisms.

4. Public Reaction and Political Ramifications

Response from Political Parties

Political parties have reacted differently to the verdict, with some welcoming it as a step towards cleaner politics, while others express concerns about its impact on fundraising.

Public Opinion

The public’s response has been mixed, reflecting diverse views on the intersection of money and politics.

Future Political Strategies

The verdict is likely to influence political strategies, with parties exploring new avenues for fundraising and engaging with voters.

What are Electoral Bonds?
About:
The electoral bonds system was introduced in 2017 by way of a Finance bill and it was implemented in 2018. They serve as a means for individuals and entities to make donations to registered political parties while maintaining donor anonymity.
Features:
– State Bank of India (SBI) issues the bonds in denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
  • Payable to the bearer on demand and interest-free.
  • Purchased by Indian citizens or entities established in India.
  • Can be bought individually or jointly with other individuals.
  • Valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue. | | Authorized Issuer: | | SBI is the authorized issuer. Electoral Bonds are issued through designated SBI branches. | | Eligibility of Political Parties: | | Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly, are eligible to receive electoral bonds. | | Purchase and Encashment: | | Electoral Bonds can be purchased digitally or through cheques. Encashment only through an authorized bank account of the political party. | | Transparency and Accountability: | | – Parties must disclose their bank account with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • Donations are made through banking channels, ensuring transparency.
  • Political parties are obligated to explain the utilization of the funds received. | | Benefits: | | – Enhanced transparency in political party funding.
  • Accountability in disclosing donation utilization.
  • Discouragement of cash transactions.
  • Preservation of donor anonymity. |

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Electoral Bond Scheme marks a significant milestone in India’s democratic journey. By upholding the principles of transparency and accountability, the Court reinforces the foundation of a robust democratic system.

FAQs

  1. What led to the Supreme Court striking down the Electoral Bond Scheme?The Court found that the scheme violated the right to information and lacked proportionality in curbing black money.
  2. How will the verdict impact political parties’ fundraising activities?Political parties may need to adopt more transparent and accountable fundraising practices.
  3. What are the implications of the verdict on corporate donations?The ruling addresses concerns about the undue influence of corporations in the electoral process, advocating for fair elections.
  4. How can the electoral financing system be reformed following this verdict?Policymakers may consider alternative mechanisms that ensure transparency and equity in political funding.
  5. What is the significance of the verdict for India’s democracy?The verdict strengthens the democratic principles of transparency, accountability, and fair representation.
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