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Challenging the Electoral Bond Scheme

  • Published
    17th Nov, 2023

Context:

Citizens must demand a fair election system, challenging the constitutionality of electoral bonds for a level-playing field in future elections.

Challenges in Political Funding:

  • Secrecy Surrounding Funds: Political parties resist public scrutiny of funds, relying on big businesses for substantial financial support.
  • Legislative Maneuvers: The government's introduction of Electoral Trusts and later, Electoral Bond Scheme raises concerns over transparency and corporate influence.
  • Citizen Empowerment through PIL: Civil society's use of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeks voter empowerment and transparency in political funding.

Constitutional Challenge to Electoral Bonds: 

  • Opaque Corporate Donations: Amendments in 2016 and 2017 obscured corporate donors' identities, eroding transparency and risking corruption in political funding.
  • Dominance of Electoral Bonds: Electoral bonds, constituting 55.9% of political donations, raise concerns of influence, with BJP receiving the majority.
  • Legal Challenge and Supreme Court: The PIL challenging electoral bonds' constitutionality awaits resolution; Supreme Court scrutiny offers hope for a level-playing field.

Anonymity Debate and Future Elections:

  • Donor Anonymity Controversy: Government emphasizes donor anonymity, hindering transparency and solicitor general argues for privacy rights.
  • Need for Corporate Transparency: Over 94% of bonds sold are in crore denominations; individual donors' particulars are disclosed, raising questions on corporate donor protection.
  • Hope for Transparent Elections: The Constitution Bench's speedy hearing on electoral bonds raises optimism for fair elections and enhanced transparency.
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