Voters have no right to know about BJP’s funding, says AG in Supreme Court

The Attorney General on Thursday pleaded in the Supreme Court that voters do not have any right to know about funding of political parties

 Supreme Court (PTI)
Supreme Court (PTI)
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NH Web Desk

Defending Electoral Bonds introduced by the Modi Government to enable anonymous donations to political parties from India and abroad, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal representing the Union Government told the Supreme Court that voters do not have any right to know ‘ where the money comes from’.

Constitutional Law expert Gautam Bhatia responded with the following tweet:

Bhatia underlined the importance of the Supreme Court judgment expected tomorrow and tweeted,

An immediate riposte also came from RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, who tweeted:

The Supreme Court reserved the judgment on a batch of petitions that prayed for declaring the bonds unconstitutional and grant an immediate interim stay. It is likely to be pronounced tomorrow, on Friday.

The Attorney General pleaded that the Electoral Bonds, opposed by the Election Commission of India when it was introduced in 2017 and before the Supreme Court, were part of a ‘ policy experiment’ and the court should not interfere in a policy matter. And if at all the court decided to examine the scheme, he argued, it should be done only after the election.

The petitioners had pointed out that 95% of the bonds had benefitted the ruling party, that the bonds being sold only by select branches of State Bank of India and that too during short and specific windows, the Government would always know the identity of the buyers and could always influence them. Pointing out two such windows opened last month in March and then again in April, during the ongoing election, the petitioners prayed for an immediate stay on the sale of bonds.

This is what the AG said at the Supreme Court during his submission spread over two days, Wednesday and Thursday:

  • The votes have a right to know what? Why are they bothered about where the money comes from?
  • Voters don’t need to know where money of political parties come from.
  • There is the right to privacy ( of donors) after Puttuswamy judgment
  • It is not voter's concern to know where the money comes from. Transparency cannot be looked as a mantra. What are the realities in the country? This is a scheme that will eliminate Black Money from the elections
  • It is good to speak of transparency. But question is for what purpose.
  • Existence of shell companies and conversion of black to white will always exist. What more could we do? There is no alternative method. We are trying to do something which cannot be worse off because shell companies exist. That will not impact the present system"

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