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Supreme Court Judgment Reveals How Much Money The Political Parties Get Through Electoral Bonds

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled against the controversial Electoral Bonds Scheme, shedding light on the extent of anonymous donations received by political parties in India since 2017-18. The annual audit reports of the last six years have exposed a significant disparity in funding, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leading the pack by receiving over ₹6,566 crore in anonymous donations. 

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The data presented before the court, scrutinized by Justice Sanjiv Khanna in his concurring opinion, highlighted the financial landscape of various political parties. The BJP emerged as the highest recipient, securing a staggering ₹6,566 crore in anonymous donations, while the Indian National Congress trailed behind with ₹1,123 crore. The All-India Trinamool Congress also featured prominently, garnering ₹1,092 crore since 2017.

Surprisingly, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) stood out as the only national party that refrained from accepting donations through electoral bonds. This decision set them apart from their counterparts and underlined their commitment to financial transparency.

Electoral Bonds: A Landmark Judgment in the Direction of Free and Fair  Elections |

Source: NewsClick

One of the key arguments presented to the Constitution Bench was the concern that a substantial portion of the donations was favoring the ruling party at the center. The data substantiated this claim, revealing that a majority of contributions through bonds were indeed directed towards political parties in power at both the central and state levels.

The Association for Democratic Reforms, a petitioner in the case, submitted a table showcasing party-wise donations received from corporate houses by national parties. The table reinforced the perception that the BJP was the primary recipient of corporate donations, further deepening the concerns about the fairness of political funding.

Supreme Court reserves verdict in the challenge to the electoral bonds  scheme -

Source: The Hindu

A closer examination of the electoral bonds’ denominations revealed that over 54% were sold in the ₹1 crore denomination, followed by ₹10 lakh, and a certain percentage falling under ₹1 lakh. Justice Khanna emphasized this data, pointing out that more than 50% of the bonds in number and a significant 94% in value were for ₹1 crore. This highlighted the substantial corporate funding through these anonymous bonds, strengthening the case for reevaluation.

The data also disclosed a troubling trend in the share of income from unknown sources for national parties. The percentage rose from 66% during 2014-15 to 2016-17 to a concerning 72% during 2018-19 to 2021-22. The total income of national political parties from undisclosed sources witnessed a staggering increase from ₹3,864 crore in the years 2014-15 to 2016-17 to ₹11,829 crore in the years 2018-19 to 2021-22. The income from the Electoral Bonds Scheme constituted a significant 58% of the total income of national political parties between 2018-19 and 2021-22.

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