The decision of the apex court not to grant stay on the controversial electoral bonds is rather unfortunate. It is disappointing, to say the least. The reason for rejecting the plea by an NGO that the bonds have been in vogue since 2018 is ridiculous. It is precisely on the account of Supreme Court’s inaction on the petition filed three years ago that the bonds have been making the ruling party’s coffers overflow. The court heard the case briefly on Wednesday, 24 March 2021, after sleeping over the most important petition for long. It speaks volumes of the apex court’s insensitivity to a law that has been impacting the elections since 2018 when elections were held for several assemblies and the Lok Sabha. The BJP has been and continues to be the blatant beneficiary.
It is strange that the SC opined that there is enough transparency in the transactions of political parties regarding the electoral bond. The law provides to keep the names of the companies and individuals buying electoral bonds a secret. It enables the ruling party to know from State Bank of India the details about the donors and the amounts of money involved. The opposition parties and the citizens of the country are denied of the same opportunity. The lack of transparency is the solid ground for grant of stay before the impending elections for five State Assemblies.
The governments formed by parties on winning elections impacted by electoral bonds tend to take decisions favouring the secret donors. The decisions of the governments make it clear who the donors were. The people can easily guess. For instance, the rise in Adani’s wealth by 300 times during the Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that his group has been dominating seaports, airports and roads tell everything that is there to know about the deceptive electoral bonds. When the elections are influenced by the electoral bonds and the governments act in favour of the donors, what kind of democracy we claim to represent? Are the electoral bonds any better than the black money the bonds claim to decimate? The very legitimacy of elections and the government they give rise to are in question. It is astonishing that the apex court refused to see the point.
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