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Unconstitutional Electoral Bonds: How much funds BJP raise through it?

The Supreme Court declared the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional, saying that it violated the fundamental right to information

By Ground report
New Update
Unconstitutional Electoral Bonds: How much funds BJP raise through it?

The Supreme Court declared the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional, saying that it violated the fundamental right to information of the citizens and the voters. The apex court also directed the government to disclose the details of the donors and the recipients of the electoral bonds within six weeks.

The electoral bonds scheme, introduced by the Modi government in 2018, allowed individuals and entities to donate money to political parties anonymously through special bank instruments. The government had claimed that the scheme was aimed at curbing black money and corruption in political funding and ensuring transparency and accountability.

However, the scheme was challenged by several petitioners, including Congress leader Dr. Jaya Thakur, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), who argued that the scheme enabled secret and unlimited donations to political parties, thus undermining the voters’ right to information and the democratic process.

The Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B.R. Gavai, J.B. Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, had reserved its verdict on November 2 last year after hearing arguments for three days. The bench unanimously held that the electoral bonds scheme was violative of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression and includes the right to information.

The Constitution bench observed that the scheme created a “parallel opaque system” of political funding, which could have serious implications for the integrity and credibility of the electoral process and the functioning of democracy. The bench also noted that the scheme could facilitate money laundering, tax evasion, and foreign influence in Indian politics.

How much funds BJP raise through Electoral Bonds?

The annual contribution report shared with the Election Commission of India ahead of the Lok Sabha polls states that they sold electoral bonds worth Rs 2,800 crore during the fiscal year. Out of this, the BJP received Rs 1,294 crore in the form of donation.

The country's principal Opposition party, the Congress, received electoral bonds worth Rs 171 crore during the fiscal, which constitutes a meagre 6.11 percent.

Financial Year BJP (in Rs crore) INC (in Rs crore) Total (in Rs crore)
2017-18 210 Nil 210
2018-19 1450.89 383.26 1834.15
2019-20 2555.0001 317.861 2872.8611
2020-21 785 58 843
2021-22 532 19 551
2022-23 1294 186 1480
Total 6826.8901 964.121 7791.0111
Source: adrindia.org

Companies and individuals can buy electoral bonds, which are interest-free bearer bonds, from authorised branches of the State Bank of India (SBI) in India. Individuals purchase these bonds through a KYC-compliant account for making donations to political parties. These bonds come in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.

The BJP received more than eight times the amount of funds through electoral bonds than the Congress in the last five years. The BJP’s total income from all sources in the same period was Rs 6826.8901 crore, out of which 55 per cent came from electoral bonds. The Congress’ total income from all sources in the same period was Rs 964.121 crore, out of which 26 per cent came from electoral bonds.

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