Electoral Bonds Scheme Verdict: SC Stops EBS, Finds It Unconstitutional; Asks SBI To Reveal Information Of Donations

Electoral Bonds Scheme Verdict: SC Stops EBS, Finds It Unconstitutional; Asks SBI To Reveal Information Of Donations

Supreme Court holds that anonymous Electoral Bonds scheme is violative of Right to Information under Article 19(1)(a).

Ruddhi PhadkeUpdated: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 12:49 PM IST
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Electoral Bonds Scheme Verdict: SC Terms It Unconstitutional | PTI

The Supreme Court has delivered a unanimous verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the legal validity of the Central government’s Electoral Bond scheme which allows for anonymous funding to political parties.

Supreme Court holds that anonymous Electoral Bonds scheme is violative of Right to Information under Article 19(1)(a). SC says infringement to the Right to Information is not justified for the purpose of curbing black money.

In its ruling, the court emphasized the significance of political parties in the electoral process, highlighting that transparency regarding their funding is crucial for informed electoral decisions.

The court concluded that undisclosed contributions to political parties violate the right to information and Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution.

It was noted that donations to political entities in exchange for favorable policies can result in a quid pro quo arrangement.

Furthermore, the court clarified that the right to privacy regarding political affiliation does not extend to contributions aimed at influencing public policy, applying solely to contributions below a certain threshold.

The amendments to the Income Tax Act provision and Section 29C of the Representation of Peoples Act were deemed ultra vires by the court.

The Constitution Bench of Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, and comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, delivered the verdict.

The Association for Democratic Reforms, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Dr. Jaya Thakur, and Spandan Biswal had challenged the Electoral Bond Scheme in the Court.

The Court ordered ECI to publish donation details by March 13

The Court has instructed the banks issuing electoral bonds to cease the process. The State Bank of India (SBI), which was authorized by the Centre to sell the bonds, has been directed by the top court to provide the details of donations made through electoral bonds and the information about the political parties that received these contributions to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

SBI shall submit these details to the ECI. The ECI shall then publish this information on its website by March 13, 2014.

What is Electoral Bond Scheme:

An electoral bond is a financial instrument introduced in India in 2018 for donating money to political parties. It's purchased from specified State Bank of India (SBI) branches, providing anonymity to donors. Critics raise concerns about transparency and influence on political parties.

The first batch of electoral bonds were sold between March 1-10, 2018 at designated branches of State Bank of India

With inputs from ANI

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