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HomeTrendsSupreme Court to hear plea against electoral bonds from October 31

Supreme Court to hear plea against electoral bonds from October 31

Supreme Court to hear plea against electoral bonds from October 31

The Supreme Court of India is gearing up for a significant legal showdown as it prepares to hear a series of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the electoral bonds scheme. These bonds have become a major source of funding for political parties in India but have faced criticism for their perceived lack of transparency.

The electoral bonds scheme was introduced as a means to bring transparency to political funding by allowing donors to make contributions to political parties through these bearer bonds, which could then be encashed by the respective political party’s account. However, critics argue that the scheme has failed to achieve its intended transparency goals and instead has raised concerns about potential misuse.

Supreme Court may hear 'electoral bonds' case on September 19

The upcoming hearings on October 31 and November 1 are of particular significance because they occur just a week before polling is set to commence for state assembly elections in five Indian states: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Manipur. The timing of the hearing underscores the urgency and relevance of this legal challenge, as it directly impacts the funding mechanisms available to political parties during the election season.

The Election Commission (EC) plays a crucial role in overseeing elections in India, and its announcement of the polling dates for these states adds to the context of the case. The EC’s role in regulating and monitoring campaign finances is closely tied to the issue of electoral bonds, as it seeks to ensure a level playing field for all parties and candidates.

SC to hear plea against Electoral Bonds Scheme - Civilsdaily

The case was originally listed for hearing on October 10, with a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud presiding. This indicates the high-level attention and significance attached to the matter.

The legal challenge to the electoral bonds scheme reflects the ongoing debate in India’s political landscape regarding transparency in political funding. It raises questions about the role of money in politics, the potential for undue influence, and the need for robust regulations to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutional validity of the electoral bonds scheme will have far-reaching implications for political financing in India. It has the potential to shape the future landscape of campaign funding, influence the behavior of political parties, and impact the transparency and accountability of the Indian political system as a whole.

Supreme Court to hear plea on electoral bonds on December 6 - The Hindu

In the legal proceedings related to the electoral bonds scheme, the petitioners, represented by lawyers from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), including notable lawyers Prashant Bhushan and Shadan Farasat, have urged for an expedited hearing of the case. They have emphasized the importance of addressing the constitutional validity of the electoral bonds scheme at the earliest.

On the other side, representing the government, Attorney General R Venkatramani has pointed out a crucial aspect of the case. He highlighted that the case also challenges the passage of the scheme as a money bill. The question of the validity of the money bill classification is currently pending before a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court.

This reference to the classification of the scheme as a money bill adds another layer of complexity to the legal challenge. The classification of a bill as a money bill has specific constitutional implications in India and is subject to judicial scrutiny. Money bills, which pertain primarily to taxation and government expenditure, have a distinct legislative process under the Indian Constitution.

The involvement of a seven-judge bench further underscores the significance and complexity of the case, as it suggests that the issue of money bill classification may have broader implications beyond the electoral bonds scheme itself.

In summary, the legal battle over the electoral bonds scheme involves the petitioners pushing for an early hearing to address the scheme’s constitutional validity, while the government points to the additional dimension of the money bill classification, which is under consideration by a seven-judge bench. The outcome of this legal battle will have far-reaching consequences for political funding in India and may shape the future of campaign financing regulations.

The legal proceedings surrounding the electoral bonds scheme took an interesting turn during the recent hearing. Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, suggested that the case could be taken up for a hearing after two months if the court was confident about a prompt decision regarding the money bill challenges associated with the scheme.

However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud expressed uncertainty regarding the timeline for resolving the money bill challenges. As a result, the bench decided not to delay the hearing by waiting for the money bill issue to be resolved and opted to hear the case without delving into the intricacies of the money bill classification.

The decision to proceed with the case reflects the court’s willingness to address the core constitutional and legal issues surrounding the electoral bonds scheme independently of the broader money bill debate.

The upcoming hearings are scheduled for two days on October 31 and November 1, signifying the court’s intention to thoroughly examine the matter and consider the arguments presented by both sides.

Electoral bonds were introduced in the 2017 Finance Act and have since become a significant mechanism for political funding in India. These bonds are akin to bearer bonds and can be purchased by Indian citizens or entities incorporated or established in India. Individuals have the option to buy electoral bonds individually or jointly with others, making them a prominent means of political contributions.

The legal proceedings related to electoral bonds hold substantial importance, as they have implications for the transparency and regulation of political funding in India. The outcome of the case may shape the future of campaign financing and political donations in the country.

In the context of electoral bonds in India, specific rules and eligibility criteria have been established to govern their use and encashment, with a focus on transparency and accountability in the political funding process. These criteria are as follows:

Political parties that are eligible to receive electoral bonds must be registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Additionally, they are required to have secured at least 1 percent of the votes polled in the most recent general election or assembly election. This stringent criterion ensures that electoral bonds are channeled exclusively to recognized and established political parties with a significant electoral presence.

Electoral bonds can only be encashed by eligible political parties through a bank account held with an authorized bank. This stipulation is designed to ensure that all financial transactions related to electoral bonds take place within the formal banking system. It enhances transparency, traceability, and accountability in the handling of electoral bond funds.

It’s worth noting that the Supreme Court of India had previously examined challenges to the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 in April 2019. While the court chose not to suspend the scheme at that time, it emphasized the importance of conducting an in-depth hearing on the matter. The court recognized that the issues raised by both the government and the Election Commission carried significant weight and had profound implications for the integrity of the electoral process in the country.

In summary, the rules governing electoral bonds in India establish clear criteria for eligible political parties and mandate that electoral bonds be encashed through authorized banks. These measures are aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in political funding, a matter of paramount importance for the democratic process in India.

In court proceedings, the Indian government and the Election Commission (EC) held opposing positions regarding political funding. The government advocated for maintaining the anonymity of donors who contribute through electoral bonds, while the Election Commission advocated for disclosing the names of donors to enhance transparency in the political funding process.



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