Thursday, April 18, 2024

Hope govt will stop resorting to “mischievous ideas”: Political parties respond to SC verdict on electoral bonds

The Supreme Court today struck down the electoral bonds scheme that allows anonymous donations to political parties as unconstitutional. It asserted that the scheme violates the right to information under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

The electoral bonds scheme, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said, was unconstitutional and arbitrary and may lead to a quid pro quo arrangement between political parties and donors.

Electoral bonds are interest-free bearer instruments that are essentially used to donate money anonymously to political parties. The scheme was first announced in the 2017 Union Budget speech when Late Arun Jaitley was the Finance Minister. Soon after the scheme was implemented, multiple parties challenged it in court. These included CPM, Congress leader Jaya Thakur and non-profit Association for Democratic Reforms. They argued that the confidentiality clause came in the way of the citizen’s right to information.

Here are the responses from political parties:

Another proof of Narendra Modi’s “corrupt” policies: Congress

The Congress welcomed the Supreme Court verdict striking down the electoral bonds scheme, and said that it will reinforce the power of votes over notes.

The Opposition party also said that it hopes that the Modi government will stop resorting to such “mischievous ideas” in the future and listen to the Supreme Court so that democracy, transparency and level-playing field persist.

In a post on X, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge welcomed the Supreme Court decision and hoped the government will stop resorting to “such mischievous ideas” in the future.

He said the Congress had called the scheme “opaque and undemocratic” when it was launched.

On the Supreme Court verdict of the electoral bonds, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “Another proof of Narendra Modi’s corrupt policies is in front of you. The BJP had made electoral bonds a medium for taking bribe and commission. Today a stamp has been put on this.”

We respect the verdict: BJP

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad says that his party “respects” the Supreme Court verdict on electoral bonds. “Electoral bonds had laudable objective of bringing transparency in electoral funding,” he says.

This judgement has restored the democracy: DMK

“The Hon’ble Supreme Court has rightly held that the #ElectoralBonds are unconstitutional. This will ensure transparent electoral process and the integrity of the system. This judgement has restored the #democracy and level playing field for all political parties. It has also ensured the common man’s faith in the system,” said Tamil Nadu CM and DMK chief MK Stalin.

Definitely, we welcome it: AIADMK

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict on electoral bonds, AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami said his party was the only party that did not receive funds through the scheme. 

Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly House, Mr. Palaniswami called upon the media to expose all those parties that received hefty sums through the electoral bonds.

“It’s a pretty huge sum raised through bonds… those parties are suppressing us and trying to destroy us with their money power. Definitely, we welcome it,” he said, PTI reported.

Great blow to those who had to depend on undisclosed funds: CPI(M)

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said it will also help people to have their independent opinion while polling, being uninfluenced by money power.

“This judgement is one of the important verdicts to protect the Indian Parliamentary democracy from the influence of anonymous contributions,” Bhattacharya said.

Bhattacharya said that it would have been more welcome if the apex court directed the refund of all the money received by different political parties to the donors since the introduction of the electoral bonds scheme in 2018, reported PTI.

Asked whether the landmark judgement will have any impact on the coming Lok Sabha elections, he said, “This will be a great blow to those political parties who had to depend a lot on such undisclosed funds.”

Important step in ensuring transparency: AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision on electoral bonds, saying it is an important step in ensuring transparency in election funding.

“We welcome this decision. This is an important step in the transparency of election funding. Otherwise through electoral bonds, it was not known which person was giving funds to which party. It is important for country’s democracy that it is known which person is giving how much money to which political party,” Delhi Cabinet minister Atishi told reporters outside the Assembly.

Very welcome move: Sharad Pawar-led NCP

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP faction said the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the electoral bonds scheme is a welcome move and there should be transparency and accountability of every donation that comes to a political party, PTI reported.

NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar spokesperson Clyde Crasto claimed the electoral bonds scheme was brought to practice to benefit the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from anonymous donors and BJP is the only party that has benefited from it since it was implemented.

This scheme cannot rule out the possibility of a ‘quid pro quo’ from an individual or a company to a political party and therefore seeing the quantum of electoral bonds received by the BJP, this is a possibility, he added.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the electoral bonds scheme, calling it “unconstitutional”, is a very welcome move. There should be transparency and accountability of every donation that comes to a political party,” Crasto said.

We are ideologically against corporate influence in elections: CPI

“We opposed Electoral Bonds from the very beginning and never accepted funding through Electoral Bonds. We are ideologically against corporate influence in elections,” says the Communist Party of India.

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