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Supreme Court's Vital Review: Electoral Bonds & Transparency



  Oct 12, 2023

Supreme Court Hearing on Electoral Bonds Case



What's the Case About?

The Supreme Court of India has set October 31 for hearing petitions that challenge the electoral bonds scheme. The scheme allows for anonymous donations to political parties.

Who Are the Parties Involved?

The Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, will preside over the case. Advocate Prashant Bhushan represents the petitioner-NGO Association for Democratic Reforms.

What Are the Main Issues?

The court will focus on two main issues:

The legality of anonymous donations to political parties.

Whether the scheme violates citizens' right to information about political funding, thereby promoting corruption.

What Does the Constitution Say?

The issues are said to violate Articles 19, 14, and 21 of the Indian Constitution, which concern freedom of speech, equality before the law, and the right to life and personal liberty, respectively.

Why is the Timing Important?

The petitioner urges that the legality of the scheme should be decided before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

What's a Money Bill?

The electoral bonds scheme was passed as a Money Bill, which means it didn't need approval from the Rajya Sabha (Upper House).
There's a separate legal question about when a Bill can be designated as a Money Bill, but this case will not wait for that judgment.

What About Anonymity?

The scheme allows donors to remain anonymous, meaning the public doesn't know who is donating to which political party.

Are There Any Tax Benefits for Donors?

The court raised a question about whether donors get tax deductions for buying electoral bonds. This could affect whether the scheme qualifies as a Money Bill.

Any Financial Figures Available?

According to a Right to Information (RTI) response, electoral bonds worth Rs.11,699.84 crore were sold from March 2018 to December 2022.
The scheme has cost taxpayers Rs.10.23 crore, including bank commissions and printing charges.

Summary

The Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the electoral bonds scheme, focusing on its legality and its impact on citizens' right to information.
The hearing is set for October 31, and the outcome could have significant implications for political funding in India.

For all details about Electoral Bonds, read "Indian Polity" by SRIRAM's.


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