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Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

India - February 2024

Supreme Court strikes down controversial Electoral Bonds Scheme

On 15 February, India’s Supreme Court (SC) struck down a fund-raising mechanism that allowed for individuals and companies to send unlimited anonymous political donations by receiving so-called “electoral bonds” from the State Bank of India (SBI) in exchange for donations to a political party or candidate. Critics of the system had long maintained that it favoured the ruling party by providing it with a significant financial advantage over its rivals, and by enabling SBI, and consequently the government, to track donations that influence political processes. In response to a petition brought by opposition members and a non-governmental organization, the court declared the electoral bonds scheme as “unconstitutional,” violating citizens’ right to government-held information. The decision mandates the SBI to immediately halt the issuance of electoral bonds. Political analysts and the opposition have praised the SC decision as a step towards transparency and strengthening democracy. Meanwhile, the ruling party has emphasized the importance of respecting every SC decision and accused opposition parties of politicising the matter.

Sources: The Indian Express, The New York Times, Financial Times, Times of India

Primary categories and factors
Representation +1 Representation  (+1)
Credible Elections
Rule of Law +1 Rule of Law  (+1)
Judicial Independence
Secondary categories and factors
Rule of Law +1 Rule of Law
Absence of Corruption