Home   »   India's Current Affairs 2023   »   Supreme Court Declares Electoral Bonds Scheme...

Supreme Court Declares Electoral Bonds Scheme Unconstitutional

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional, citing it as arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. This verdict came following a batch of pleas challenging the legality of the scheme, which allowed for anonymous funding to political parties.

Supreme Court Declares Electoral Bonds Scheme Unconstitutional

  • A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B.R. Gavai, J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra has held that the non-disclosure of voluntary political contributions is violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Bench reasoned that in a democracy the right to information includes the right to know the source of political funding. The right to information could only be restricted through Article 19(2). However, the ground of curbing black money is not “traceable” to Article 19(2).
  • Further, it has held that the unlimited political funding by corporates is violative of the fundamental right to free and fair elections and therefore manifestly arbitrary under Article 14.
  • The court also struck down the corresponding amendments made through the Finance Bill, 2017.

Supreme Court Declares Electoral Bonds Scheme Unconstitutional: Key Decisions and Directives

  1. Unanimous Verdict: A five-judge Constitution Bench, presided over by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, unanimously declared the changes made in the law to introduce the electoral bonds scheme as unconstitutional.

  2. Cessation of Electoral Bond Issuance: The Supreme Court directed the issuing bank to immediately cease the issuance of electoral bonds.
  3. Disclosure Requirement: The Court mandated that the State Bank of India (SBI) submit details of electoral bonds purchased since the interim order of April 12, 2019, to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Concurring Opinion

Justice Khanna’s Perspective: Justice Khanna penned a concurring opinion, offering slightly different reasoning but ultimately supporting the unanimous decision.

Addressed Questions

Violation of Free and Fair Elections Principles: Both judgments addressed whether the non-disclosure of information on voluntary contributions to political parties, as per the electoral bond scheme and amendments to relevant sections of laws, violated the principles of free and fair elections.

Supreme Court Declares Electoral Bonds Scheme Unconstitutional_4.1

Supreme Court Declares Electoral Bonds Scheme Unconstitutional_5.1