Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.
- The Supreme Court of India has given the Election Commission of India (EC) a two-week deadline to provide updated data, until September 30, 2023, regarding political contributions received by political parties through the electoral bonds scheme.
- A five-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, has reserved its judgment on the challenge to the electoral bonds scheme.
More information on this news:
- The Court stressed that the purpose of the scheme is to sanitize the political donation process, reduce unaccounted-for cash in the electoral system, promote the use of authorized banking channels, and enhance transparency.
- Chief Justice Chandrachud expressed concern that the scheme should not be used to legitimize kickbacks and quid pro quo relationships between political parties and those who financially support them.
- Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta objected to the claims made by the petitioners, arguing that the scheme has facilitated the influx of black money into political parties from anonymous sources.
- The government defended its efforts to combat black money and corruption, rejecting the petitioners’ pessimistic outlook on the electoral bonds scheme.
Electoral Bonds Scheme:
- The Electoral Bonds Scheme was launched in 2018 by the Government of India to promote transparency and accountability in political funding.
- Electoral bonds are bearer instruments that can be purchased by any Indian citizen or company from specified branches of the State Bank of India (SBI).
- The bonds are available in denominations of Rs.1,000, Rs.10,000, Rs.1 lakh, Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore.
- The bonds can be donated to any eligible political party registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
- The political parties can redeem the bonds through their designated bank accounts with SBI.
- The identity of the purchaser of the bonds is not known to the political party that receives them.
- The scheme is aimed at reducing the use of black money in political funding.
Analysis of the scheme:
- The Electoral Bonds Scheme has been criticized by some for its lack of transparency and accountability. Critics argue that the scheme allows for anonymous donations to political parties, which could lead to corruption and undue influence. They also argue that the scheme makes it difficult to track the sources of political funding.
- However, supporters of the scheme argue that it is a necessary step to reduce the use of black money in political funding. They argue that the scheme is transparent and accountable, and that it provides a mechanism for citizens to donate to political parties without having to reveal their identity.
Question: Evaluate the Electoral Bonds Scheme in the context of its impact on transparency and accountability in political funding in India.