Explained: How Supreme Court Judgement on Electoral Bond Helps Congress and BJP?

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In its two judgments, the Supreme Court set aside The Electoral Bond Scheme, the proviso to Section 29C (1) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 (as amended by Section 137 of Finance Act 2017), Section 182(3) of the Companies Act (as amended by Section 154 of the Finance Act 2017), and Section 13A (b) (as amended by Section 11 of Finance Act 2017 but Interesting did not set aside the Section 236 of Finance Act, 2016 vide which Section 2(1) (j) (vi) of the Foreign Regulations Contribution Act, 2010 was amended allowing foreign companies with subsidiaries in India to fund political parties in India with post facto effect with sole aim to regularize the funding taken by Congress Party and BJP from foreign companies with subsidiaries.

New Delhi (ABC Live); The Supreme Court of India on February 15, 2024 passed a judgment in Writ Petition (C) No. 880 of 2017,Writ Petition (C) No. 59 of 2018, Writ Petition (C) No. 975 of 2022 &Writ Petition(C) No. 1132 of 2022, wherein validity of Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 framed under the Finance Act, 2017 and the Finance Act, 2016 were challenged.

Through all the above petitions, the petitioners sought to set aside of Section 11, Section 135, Section 137, Section 154 of the Finance Act 2017, and Section 236 of the Finance Act, 2016 along with  followings the corresponding amendments carried out in Section 31 of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, Section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, Section 13A, the Income Tax Act, 1961, Section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013 and Section 2(1)(j)(vi) of the Foreign Regulations Contribution Act, 2010.

In its two judgments, the Supreme Court set aside The Electoral Bond Scheme, the proviso to Section 29C (1) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 (as amended by Section 137 of Finance Act 2017), Section 182(3) of the Companies Act (as amended by Section 154 of the Finance Act 2017), and Section 13A (b) (as amended by Section 11 of Finance Act 2017 but  Interesting did not set aside the Section 236 of Finance Act, 2016 vide which Section 2(1) (j) (vi) of the Foreign Regulations Contribution Act, 2010 was amended allowing foreign companies with subsidiaries in India to fund political parties in India with post facto effect with sole aim to regularize the funding taken by Congress Party and BJP from foreign companies with subsidiaries.

 It is public records that the Delhi High Court in its judgment dated 28th March 2014 in WP (C) No. 131/2013 had held two major National political parties BJP and Congress guilty of taking foreign funding and directed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Election Commission of India (ECI) to take action against the two national parties within six months, as the same were a blatant violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 FCRA) and Representation of Act, 1951 by these two major National political parties.

 It is on records that BJP and INC had accepted donations from Vedanta and its subsidiaries, registered in England and Wales for the period up to the year 2009.

 The Apex Court directed;

‘The issuing bank shall herewith stop the issuance of Electoral Bond

SBI shall submit details of the Electoral Bonds purchased since the interim order of this Court dated 12 April 2019 till date to the ECI. The details shall include the date of purchase of each Electoral Bond, the name of the purchaser of the bond and the denomination of the Electoral Bond purchased.

SBI shall submit the details of political parties which have received contributions through Electoral Bonds since the interim order of this Court dated 12 April 2019 till date to the ECI. SBI must disclose details of each Electoral Bond encashed by political parties which shall include the date of encashment and the denomination of the Electoral Bond.

SBI shall submit the above information to the ECI within three weeks from the date of this judgment, that is, by 6 March 2024.

The ECI shall publish the information shared by the SBI on its official website within one week of the receipt of the information, that is, by 13 March 2024.

Electoral Bonds that are within the validity period of fifteen days but which have not been encashed by the political party yet shall be returned by the political party or the purchaser depending on who is in possession of the bond to the issuing bank. The issuing bank, upon the return of the valid bond, shall refund the amount to the purchasers' account.”

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