oppn parties EC & Political Parties Must Sit Together To Find The Way Ahead

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court allows a raped minor to end her 30-week pregnancy
  • Mamata Banerjee calls Calcutta HC order in teacher appointment "illegal" and "one-sided", state government to file appeal in Supreme Court
  • Calcutta HC scraps TM|C government's 2016 process of appointing school teachers, 25757 teachers set to lose their jobs and asked to return their salaries
  • Congress tells EC to disqualify PM Modi for his speech saying Muslims will be the biggest beneficiaries of Congress' redistribution of wealth, alleges Modi trying to inflame passions and create enmity between communities
  • NCLT admits Indiabulls' plea against insolvency proceedins against Subhash Chnadra, the founder and chairman emeritus of Zee Enterprises
  • Vodafone FPO oversubscribed by 7 times, becomes the biggest such fund-raise
  • RBI tells payment companies to track dubious transactions that may be used to influence voters
  • RIL profit stood at Rs 21243cr in Q4 FY23 even as revenue rose by 11% to Rs 2.4 lakh cr
  • Stocks remain positive on Monday: Sensex gains 560 points to 73648 and Nifty 189 points to 22336
  • IPL: Rajasthan Royals on fire, beat Mumbai Indians by 9 wickets as Sandeep Sharma takes 5 for 18 and Yashasvi Jaiswal roares back to form with a brilliant century
  • IPL: Gujarat Titans beat Punjab Kings by 7 wickets
  • IPL: KKR beat RCB by 1 run in a last-ball thriller in the heat chamber of Kolkata's Eden Garden with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees
  • Candidates Chess: D Gukesh emerges winner. Draws last match with Hikaru Nakamura to end at 9 points. Former tournament leader Ian Nepomniachtchi also draws with Fabioano Caruana to leave Gukesh as the sole leader and winner to challenge Ding Liren
  • Supreme Court says all cases of mob violence and lynchings should not be given a communal angle
  • Supreme Court tells petitioners who want elections to be held with ballot papers as they fear EVM tampering to back their claims of tampering with data
Calcutta HC scraps 2016 teacher appointment process, 25757 teachers to lose their jobs, ordered to repay salaries withdrawn in 4 weeks
oppn parties
EC & Political Parties Must Sit Together To Find The Way Ahead

By Our Editorial Team
First publised on 2024-02-16 06:47:30

About the Author

Sunil Garodia The India Commentary view

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court declared the electoral bond scheme 'unconstitutional' as it ruled that the citizens' right to know was paramount and superseded donors' right to privacy. Saying that the scheme violated Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, the 5-judge bench of CJI D Y Chandrachud and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, in a unanimous verdict (there were two concurring judgments with different reasoning but same conclusion) asked the government to stop the scheme immediately. It also asked the SBI to give all details of all bonds purchased from April 2019 to the Election Commission by March 6 which in turn was directed to publish the same on its website by March 13.

The apex court was not swayed by the government argument that the bonds were necessary to curb 'black' money in politics as they were purchased through banking channels. It said that there were better ways to do that instead of an instrument that lacked transparency. The bench also ruled that all amendments to Companies Act, the Income Tax Act and the Representation of Peoples Act to facilitate the operation of the electoral bond scheme stood quashed. It said that unlimited political funding by companies could be used to influence public policy and lead to quid pro quo.

There is no doubt that the electoral bonds lacked transparency. As the court said, the public had the right to know who was funding whom and if the donors got favours in return to make informed choices when they voted. The court also found the decision to remove the cap (7.5% of the average profit of last three years) on funding by companies and allowing loss-making companies to donate 'arbitrary'. As the details will now be available in public domain, it will be known how big donors gained (if they did) by making substantial contributions to political parties. As the biggest beneficiary, the BJPs actions will obviously come under the scanner but since the opposition rules in several states, the actions of the Congress and some regional parties will also be scrutinized.

But will the scrapping of the electoral bonds once again lead to secret cash donations and infusion of black money? Rs 16000cr worth of bonds were sold since inceptionfor an average of just above Rs 3000cr per year. There will not be a vacuum for such a huge amount, especially as the Lok Sabha elections are approaching. Although electoral trusts exist and are transparent, they are not the preferred mode of donation. This Supreme Court judgment should lead the Election Commission and the political parties to sit together and find out ways to clean up the political funding system. They should come up with a system that is clean, transparent and fair.