Introduction: The Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS) in India has raised significant concerns regarding the transparency of political funding. This system allows political parties to receive donations through banking channels, but it has been criticized for its lack of transparency and potential influence of corporate donors on the electoral process.
- Lack of Transparency:
- EBS conceals the identity of corporate donors, undermining transparency.
- Political parties are not required to disclose the particulars of their donors, eroding citizens’ access to vital information.
- Influence of Big Business:
- EBS encourages political donations from corporate entities, potentially leading to undue influence on political parties and policies.
- Over 55.9% of political donations came through electoral bonds, with the ruling BJP receiving the majority.
- Legal Challenges:
- Amendments to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and other laws were made to enable corporate donations, leading to legal challenges.
- Citizens argued that these amendments violated their right to know under Article 19(1)(a) and were not justified under Article 19(2).
- Violation of Constitutional Principles:
- Critics argue that the scheme undermined India’s democratic autonomy, incentivized corruption by lifting donation caps, and allowed contributions from loss-making and shell companies.
- The use of a money bill to amend laws circumvented the legislative process.
- Political parties continue to rely on cash transactions, but electoral bonds enable them to engage with the formal economy for infrastructure, equipment, and media publicity.
- The EBS favors incumbents in elections due to increased corporate contributions.
Conclusion: The Electoral Bond Scheme in India has raised concerns about transparency, corporate influence, and legal challenges. While it remains a favored mode of political donation, its constitutionality is under scrutiny by the Supreme Court. The outcome of this legal battle will have significant implications for the future of political funding and transparency in Indian democracy.
- Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS): A system in India allowing political parties to receive donations through banking channels while concealing the identity of corporate donors.
- Corporate Donors: Companies providing financial support to political parties.
- Transparency: The degree to which political funding and activities are open and accessible to the public.
- Right to Know: A citizen’s fundamental right to access information under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution.
- Money Bill: A type of legislation in India related to financial matters that can be passed by the Lok Sabha (House of the People) without the Rajya Sabha’s (Council of States) consent.
(Reference: The Hindu – Challenging the Electoral Bond Scheme) copyright©iasexpress.net