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Electoral bond scheme: SC verdict will reinforce power of votes over notes, says Congress

The Supreme Court struck down the electoral bond scheme, saying it violates the right to information and the freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: February 15, 2024 12:44 IST
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh
Image Source : PTI/FILE Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh

The Congress on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict striking down the electoral bond scheme, and said it will reinforce the power of votes over notes. The long-awaited verdict is hugely welcome and will reinforce the power of votes over notes, he said.

“The Supreme Court has held the much-touted Electoral Bonds scheme of the Modi Sarkar as violative of both laws passed by Parliament as well as the Constitution of India,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh in a post on X said.

He targeted the Modi government saying the Modi Sarkar has been inflicting ANYAY upon ANYAY on the Annadatas while privileging the Chandadatas.

“We also hope that the Supreme Court will take note that the Election Commission has been consistently refusing to even meet political parties on the issue of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

If everything is transparent in the voting process then why this obstinacy?” he said.

Another Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also targeted the Modi government after SC verdict on the electoral bonds.

"Another proof of Narendra Modi's corrupt policies is in front of everyone. The BJP had made electoral bonds a medium for taking bribes and commissions. Today, it was approved," he posted on X.

SC terms electoral bond scheme unconstitutional

The top court gave a big jolt to the government by striking down the electoral bond scheme, saying it violates the right to information and the freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution.

In a landmark judgement that will have wide ramifications, it ordered the State Bank of India to disclose to the Election Commission the names of the contributors to the six-year-old scheme.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud delivered two separate and unanimous verdicts on the pleas challenging the scheme, delivering a major blow to the central government.

Pronouncing the verdict, the CJI said the scheme is violative of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

The bench said the fundamental right to privacy also includes citizens’ right to political privacy and affiliation.

It also held as invalid the amendments made in various laws, including the Representation of Peoples Act and the Income Tax laws.

It directed that the issuing bank shall stop issuance of electoral bonds and the State Bank of India shall submit details of electoral bonds purchased since April 12, 2019 till date to the Election Commission.

The top court had on November 2 last year reserved its verdict in the matter.

The scheme, which was notified by the government on January 2, 2018, was pitched as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency in political funding.

According to the provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be purchased by any citizen of India or entity incorporated or established in the country.

An individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals without disclosing their identity.

Critics have said this eliminates transparency in electoral funding and gives an edge to the ruling parties.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Electoral bonds a process to turn black money into white, violates right to information, says SC | Key points

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