“India’s Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bonds, Dealing Blow to BJP and Promoting Transparency in Political Funding”

India’s Supreme Court dealt a significant blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by striking down the controversial Electoral Bonds system. The system, in place since 2017, allowed individuals and companies to make undisclosed donations to political parties, sparking concerns about transparency and accountability in political funding.

The court’s decision, based on a challenge by opposition members and a civil society group, declared the system unconstitutional. It highlighted that the Electoral Bonds scheme impeded the public’s right to know the sources of political funding, a crucial aspect of a transparent democracy.

Under the Electoral Bonds system, individuals and entities could purchase bonds from the State Bank of India and donate them to political parties of their choice. This mechanism enabled the funneling of substantial funds to political parties, with the BJP being the primary beneficiary.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an organization focused on electoral reforms, the total value of Electoral Bonds sold up to November 2023 amounted to a staggering 165.18 billion rupees ($1.99 billion). This sizable sum underscored the significant role the scheme played in political financing in India.

The court’s ruling was a setback for the BJP, which had staunchly defended the Electoral Bonds system as a means to ensure transparency and eliminate black money from political funding. However, critics argued that the scheme had the opposite effect, allowing for unchecked donations from vested interests without public scrutiny.

The decision to scrap the Electoral Bonds system represents a victory for transparency advocates and strengthens the principles of democratic accountability in India’s political landscape. It sends a clear message that transparency and accountability must prevail in the country’s electoral process, laying the groundwork for potential reforms in political funding.

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