SC Bar Association Appeals to President Murmu for Review of Electoral Bonds Ruling

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has reached out to President Droupadi Murmu, requesting a Presidential Reference regarding the Supreme Court’s recent judgment that deemed the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional. The SCBA, led by President Adish Aggarwala, expressed concerns over judgments that could potentially create a constitutional deadlock and challenge the authority of Parliament.

In his letter to President Murmu, Aggarwala emphasized the importance of reevaluating the case to ensure justice for all stakeholders involved, including Parliament, political parties, corporate entities, and the general public. The Supreme Court’s ruling on February 14 struck down the electoral bonds scheme, citing violations of the Right to Information and infringement of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which pertains to the freedom of speech and expression.

The judgment came from a five-judge constitution bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, which also rejected a plea by the State Bank of India for an extension to disclose donor details. The bench mandated the Election Commission of India to make this information public by March 15.

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Aggarwala’s letter highlighted the legislative foundation of the electoral bond scheme, introduced through the Finance Act of 2017, which amended several key financial and electoral laws. He argued that questioning the legislative intent behind the scheme was unwarranted.

Introduced in 2018, electoral bonds were touted as a transparent alternative to cash donations to political parties. Despite the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s assertions of increased transparency, critics, including opposition parties and activists, argue that the scheme obscures donor information, reducing transparency and potentially favoring those in power.

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