Ahead of the much-awaited hearing in the case challenging the legal validity of electoral bonds, Attorney General for India R Venkataramani has told the Supreme Court that citizens do not have the right to know about the funding of political parties..This was part of written submissions submitted by the Attorney General (AG) to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Central government. Defending the electoral bonds scheme which facilitates anonymous donations to political parties, AG Venkataramani said it does not impinge upon any existing rights and cannot be said to be repugnant to any fundamental rights under Part III of the Constitution. “A law which is not so repugnant cannot be voided for any other reason. Judicial review is not about scanning State policies for the purposes of suggesting better or different prescriptions,” his submissions read..There cannot be a general right to know anything and everything without being subjected to reasonable restrictions, Venkatramani said, adding that the Supreme Court’s judgments on the "right to know" were in the context of making informed choices about electoral candidates and knowing their antecedents. “These judgments cannot be read as to suggest that a citizen has a right to information under Art. 19(1)(a) regarding funding of political party. If there is no right under Article 19(1)(a), the further question of locating reasonable restriction under Article 19(2) does not arise,” the AG said..AG Venkataramani further submitted that the electoral bonds scheme is “within the scope of the Article 19(2) of the Constitution" which allows the government to impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of fundamental rights.Countering arguments raised by the petitioners for transparency in the funding of political parties, the AG said such a “right to know for the general health of democracy” would be too overbroad.Venkataramani also said that the right to know the criminal antecedents of a candidate cannot be compared with the case at hand. .On Supreme Court’s judgments in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India and Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms, AG Venkatramani said that these cases concern information on the the criminal antecedents of electoral candidates so that citizens have a choice to elect candidates free from blemish.“Right to know for specific rightful expression was thus conceived. From that it cannot be said that the right to know for general or broad ends necessarily follows,” he contended.Cautioning against enabling any right to know the source of funding for political parties, AG Venkataramani said that the Court will also have to consider its impact on political parties and their right Article 19 (1)(c), that is, the right to form associations or unions. .Thus, he has suggested that the issue deserves parliamentary debates, while stressing that contributions to political parties has democratic significance. The demand for accountability from the government or having the government free from influence does not mean that the Court can intervene in such matters unless there is law that clearly offends the Constitution, the AG has argued.“Even when the Court proceeds to declare an aspect as part of a right for the first time, it will be in tune with separation of powers that the subject of reviewing or testing a law with the newly stated aspect of a right be relegated to public and parliamentary debates,” the AG’s submissions added. .An electoral bond is an instrument in the nature of a promissory note or bearer bond which can be purchased by any individual, company, firm or association of persons provided the person or body is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.The bonds, which are in multiple denominations, are issued specifically for the purpose of contributing funds to political parties in its existing schemeVarious petitions are pending before the top court challenging at least five amendments made to different statutes through the Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that they have opened doors to unlimited, unchecked funding of political parties.The petitions have also raised the ground that the Finance Act could not have been passed as a money bill.Six years after the matter was filed, these petitions are slated to be heard from October 31 by a Constitution Bench of five judges.