Daily News Analysis » March 2024 » Electoral Bonds quashed by Supreme Court: 18 Mar 2024

Electoral Bonds quashed by Supreme Court: 18 Mar 2024


Electoral Bonds:

    • Electoral bonds are promissory notes that can be bought and donated to political parties for encashment. They’re available from the State Bank of India (SBI).
    • 2018: This scheme was launched with the aim to clean political funding by bringing transparency.
  • 2022 Amendments:
    • Additional Period: Fifteen additional days for buying electoral bonds during general election years.
    • Validity: Bonds are valid for fifteen days post-issue.
    • Eligibility: Only political parties with at least 1% of votes in the last general election are eligible to receive donations through electoral bonds.


Supreme Court’s Ruling Against the Scheme:

    • Right to Information Violation: Scheme was found to infringe upon the fundamental right to information.
    • Lack of Justification for Curbing Black Money: Court found the scheme wasn’t the least restrictive measure for achieving its objective.
    • Privacy Right Limitation: Right to privacy doesn’t extend to large corporate donations aimed at policy influence.
    • Unlimited Corporate Donations Issue: Unlimited political contributions by companies were found to violate the principle of free and fair elections.
    • Section 29C of RPA, 1951 Amendment Quashed: Requirement for political parties to declare contributions over ₹20,000 was reinstated.
  • Supreme Court’s Additional Orders:
  • Stop on Issuance of Bonds: SBI ordered to halt further issuance of electoral bonds.
  • Disclosure of Bond Details: SBI must furnish details of electoral bonds purchased by political parties since April 12, 2019, to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
  • Publication of Information: ECI to publish the details provided by SBI on its official website by March 15, 2024.

Donations Details:

  • The total amount donated under the scheme from April 1, 2019 to February 15, 2024, was Rs 12,156 crore, of which almost half came from the top 20 donors alone

Why in News?

  • The Election Commission recently published the details of Electoral Bonds donors as submitted by the State Bank of India.