Congress hails SC striking down Electoral Bonds as unconstitutional

The Congress spokesperson said, the Electoral Bonds were a willful tool of concealment and absolute exoneration from political accountability

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  15 Feb 2024 10:25 AM GMT
Congress hails SC striking down Electoral Bonds as unconstitutional

New Delhi: The Congress today hailed the Supreme Court decision striking down the ‘Electoral Bonds’ as unconstitutional.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here today, party spokesperson and Chairman of Media and Publicity (Communication Department), AICC, Pawan Khera said, with today’s verdict of the apex court, the party stood vindicated.

“The Indian National Congress has been fighting this battle for the last seven years both within Parliament and outside. Today, we stand vindicated”, he remarked.

Khera pointed out, in 2017, when the Electoral Bonds Scheme was first announced as part of the Finance Bill, the Indian National Congress was the first political party to condemn, in clear and unequivocal terms, the opaque, undemocratic and harmful nature of the instrument so proposed.

He said the Congress had at that time said that the, ‘Electoral Bonds’ would become the most significant enablers of “quid-pro-quo deals”. “The sheer potential for corruption that this loophole allowed, was reason enough to strike down the Bonds”, he observed.

Khera said the party had flagged the concern that the removal of the cap on political funding from corporate Electoral Bonds would allow for dubious funding to thrive. He said the party had also opposed the removal of the 7.5 percent cap on profits for donation to political parties. “With this safeguard discarded, it became possible that shell companies could be created to funnel ‘unaccounted for’ funds and donate the same to the party of their choice”, he pointed out.

Khera said the argument of anonymity was deliberately designed to mislead. “Since the SBI, the only authorized seller of electoral bonds, kept details of those to whom they are selling the bonds, what prevented the party in power to call upon that information?” he asked, while adding, evidence would appear in the years that followed, through a series of courageous and independent reporting, that showed the government did have access to all funding data and the few funds that did flow to the opposition parties through this route, could be identified and targeted.

Asserting that the Congress party stood vindicated, Khera pointed out that the Supreme Court has said that financial arrangements can lead to quid pro quo between political parties and other interested entities.

Khera said that the Government’s claims that it curbed black money were without basis. “Those present will recall how the RBI had cautioned the government that the bonds could become a route for money laundering”, he pointed out, while expressing relief that all these concerns have been addressed by the Supreme Court and Modi Government’s justification has been found to be paper thin, as always.

The Congress spokesperson said, the Electoral Bonds were a willful tool of concealment and absolute exoneration from political accountability. “That was their only purpose and all the ‘intellectualisations’ offered at the time have failed to withstand judicial scrutiny”, he remarked.

He alleged for a party, which made the purging of ‘Black Money’ a key ‘jumla’ of its electoral campaigns, it created a system that removed all accountability from the system, allowed black money a cloak to conceal itself in, while at the same time charging the citizens of this country to run it.

He hoped that the SBI will disclose all the details of political funding received by all political parties to the ECI and it will publish the same in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions.

He said, with over 95% of all funding having flowed to just one single party through this route since it was introduced, the question that arises is whether the Modi Government will comply with it or issue another ordinance to try and circumvent the directions of the Supreme Court?

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