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Business News/ News / India/  SC strikes down electoral bonds scheme, directs bank to stop issuance of bonds | 5 key highlights
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SC strikes down electoral bonds scheme, directs bank to stop issuance of bonds | 5 key highlights

The top court struck down the electoral bonds scheme calling it unconstitutional. SC holds that anonymous electoral bonds are violative of right to information and freedom of speech under Constitution.

The Supreme Court of India (SCI) to deliver verdict on Centre's Electoral Bonds scheme todayPremium
The Supreme Court of India (SCI) to deliver verdict on Centre's Electoral Bonds scheme today

The Supreme Court on 15 February pronounced its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Electoral Bond scheme, which allows for anonymous funding to political parties. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud delivered two separate but unanimous verdicts on pleas challenging the scheme. 

Key Highlights of the Judgment

1. SC strikes down electoral bonds scheme: The top court struck down the electoral bonds scheme calling it unconstitutional. 

2. Not the only means to curb black money in electoral financing: The Supreme Court said infringement to the Right to Information is not justified for the purpose of curbing black money. “There are other alternatives which substantially fulfil the purpose and impact the right to information minimally when compared to the impact of electoral bonds on the right to information," SC said as quoted by LiveLaw.

Electoral Bonds Scheme verdict LIVE updates

3. Electoral bond scheme violative of freedom of speech and expression: Pronouncing the verdict, the CJI said the scheme is violative of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of Constitution. The bench said the fundamental right to privacy includes citizens’ right to political privacy and affiliation.

4. Advantage for party in power: The Constitution bench held that the Electoral Bonds scheme will help the party in power to gain an advantage. "There is also a legitimate possibility that financial contributions to a political party would lead to a quid pro quo arrangement because of the close nexus between money and politics, SC said.

Also Read: As SC calls Electoral Bonds unconstitutional; here's what Arun Jaitley had said while defending the scheme

5. SBI ordered to stop issuing Electoral bonds immediately: SC ordered the State Bank of India (SBI) to stop issuing Electoral Bonds immediately. The top court asked the SBI to furnish details of the political parties that received Electoral Bonds since April 12, 2019, and all the particulars received and submit them to the Election Commission of India by March 6. The details that the SBI will furnish will disclose details of each electoral bond encashed by the political parties, which shall include the date of encashment and the denomination of the electoral bond. The apex court said that by March 13, the ECI shall publish the details of Electoral Bonds on its official website.

What is an electoral bond?

An Electoral Bond is an instrument in the nature of a promissory note or bearer bond which can be purchased by any individual, company, firm or association of persons provided the person or body is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. The bonds are issued specifically for the purpose of contribution of funds to political parties.

Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than 1 per cent of the votes polled in the last elections to the Lok Sabha or a state legislative assembly are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

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Published: 15 Feb 2024, 11:09 AM IST
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