Supreme Court rules Electoral Bond Scheme is unconstitutional | Judgement Matrix

Constitutionality of the Electoral Bond Scheme

Judges: D.Y. Chandrachud CJI, Sanjiv Khanna J, B.R. Gavai J, J.B. Pardiwala J, Manoj Misra J

Today, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud unanimously held that the Union Government’s 2018 Electoral Bond scheme was unconstitutional. They found the scheme to be violative of the right to information under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Further, they held that the scheme ran foul of the principles of free and fair elections under Article 14.

CJI Chandrachud authored the majority opinion, with Justice Sanjiv Khanna writing a concurring opinion. Our matrix provides a snapshot of the issues at play and the judges’ holding on those points.


On 2 January 2018, the Ministry of Finance issued a notification that introduced the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018. Under this Scheme, certain branches of the State Bank of India (SBI) were authorised to sell electoral bonds in denominations of ₹ 1,000, ₹10,000, ₹1,00,000, ₹10,00,000, and ₹ 1,00,00,000 for 10 days in January, April, July, and October each year.

Most importantly, the bonds allowed the identity of the purchaser to remain anonymous to everyone, except the SBI, who must record the buyer’s Know Your Customer (KYC) details.

Political parties which secured more than one percent votes “in the last general election to the House of the People or a Legislative Assembly” are eligible to accept donations through electoral bonds.

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Common Cause— and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) filed petitions in the Supreme Court arguing that the scheme allowed “non-transparency in political funding” and legitimised electoral corruption at a “huge scale.”