Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 24 April 2024 12.50 PM IST

Verdict on electoral bonds: A step towards transparency in political funding


Political parties spend the most money during elections. It is an open secret that major parties are spending twice as much in each constituency as shown in the figures. What motivates political parties to spend so much money on elections is that if they come to power by throwing money and winning the election, they can get back many times that amount. In states like Tamil Nadu, ceremonies are also held where thousands are given to each voter. The parties of those who preach that corruption will be eradicated are not immune from this.

Collecting small sums from people cannot be said to be a major anomaly. No one pressures the government to commit corruption because of it. That's not the flip side of buying money from big companies and industry leaders. For them, the government will have to make many compromises in the future. Without this change, pure politics can only be talked about and never implemented in practice. The Supreme Court's historic verdict canceling the electoral bond is a small start in that direction.

All political parties are beneficiaries of this scheme. Naturally, the ruling party at the center is also the biggest beneficiary. Through this verdict, the Supreme Court has made it clear that if the laws are created without due respect to the constitutional values, a higher court of the country is working to see, question and correct it from the people. The court has not said that it is unconstitutional or wrong for political parties to accept money. But the Supreme Court closed the Electoral Bonds by pointing out that concealing the money received without telling from whom it was received is a violation of freedom of expression and right to know.

The Supreme Court rejected the central government's contention that the debenture scheme was introduced to prevent money laundering through political donations and bring transparency by channeling donations through banks. What about concealment of donation received through bank? The Representation of the People Act was amended to exempt political parties from disclosing information on donations received through bonds. The Income Tax Act has been amended to exempt the parties from keeping records of such contributions. The company law was amended to remove the upper limit of contribution. The Foreign Contribution Control Act was also amended to remove the ban on foreign contributions.

All these amendments were made to hide the facts from the people. Why should governments elected by the people keep them in the dark room? And what is the point of talking about transparency? The decision of the court upholds and increases the value of the Constitution and the people. This judgment will help to underline that democracy is greater, not capitalism.

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