Odishatv Bureau

The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a unanimous verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the legal validity of the Central government’s Electoral Bond scheme which allows for anonymous funding to political parties.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said there were two separate judgements - one penned by him and the other by Justice Sanjiv Khanna and both the verdicts were unanimous.

"There is also a legitimate possibility that financial contribution to a political party would lead to quid pro quo arrangements because of the closed nexus between money and politics. Quid pro quo arrangements could be in the form of introducing a policy change or granting a license to the person making financial contribution to the political party in power. The electoral bond scheme and the impugned provisions to the extent that they infringe upon the right to information of the voter by anonymizing contributions through electoral bonds are violative of Article 19(1)(a)," said CJI Chandrachud while pronouncing judgement on the case.

While holding the anonymous Electoral Bonds scheme violative of Right to Information under Article 19(1)(a), the Apex Court stated that political parties are relevant units in the electoral process and information about funding of political parties is essential for electoral choices.

The SC further said that infringement to the Right to Information is not justified for the purpose of curbing black money. Information about corporate contributors through Electoral Bonds must be disclosed as the donations by companies are purely for quid pro quo purposes.

Terming the scheme unconstitutional, the Supreme Court stated that the Electoral Bonds scheme has to be struck down.

What is Electoral Bonds scheme?

The Electoral Bonds scheme was notified by the Central government on January 2, 2018. The scheme enables companies and individuals in India to donate to political parties anonymously. 

The scheme was defended stating that anonymity in political donations is necessary to ensure no apprehension of retribution from other political parties. 

It was also argued that the Electoral Bonds scheme would ensure ‘white’ money being used for political funding via proper banking channels.