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On electoral bonds, Supreme Court must uphold Right to Information

  • Published
    4th Nov, 2023


The Electoral bonds case has highlighted the issues in India, raising concerns about transparency, legislative amendments, citizens' right to know, and proposing alternatives.

Electoral Bonds and Transparency

  • Intentions vs. Reality: Electoral bonds introduced in 2017 for transparent political funding.
  • Anonymity Quandary: Instead, allowed anonymous donations up to ?200 crore, undermining transparency.
  • Transparency Compromised: Raises doubts about true motive behind donor anonymity and potential quid pro quo arrangements.

Regulatory Changes and Concerns

  • Legislative Overhaul: Finance Act of 2017 amended several laws to pave way for electoral bonds.
  • Corporate Contributions: Eliminated 7.5% profit limit on company donations, potentially legitimizing crony capitalism.
  • Foreign Funding Shielded: Retroactive amendment shielded foreign financing of Indian elections from scrutiny.

Citizens' Right to Information

  • Apex Court's Precedent: Citizens' right to know settled by apex court in 2003 for transparency in elections.
  • Challenges: Attorney General's argument of "reasonable restrictions" on citizens' right to know questioned.
  • Proposals for Enhanced Transparency: Suggestions for public funding or a National Election Fund to eliminate secrecy concerns.
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