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Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bond Scheme, Upholding Voter’s Right to Information

Supreme Court of India

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by News Desk

Issues:


On February 15, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment, declaring the electoral bond scheme unconstitutional. The scheme, which allowed anonymous contributions to political parties, was challenged by various petitioners, including the Association for Democratic Reforms and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The central issue revolved around whether voters have the right to information regarding political party funding under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Reasoning:


In its verdict, the Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, emphasized the essential role of information in ensuring effective exercise of the right to vote. Citing previous judgments, the Court affirmed that voters have a right to information crucial for making informed decisions. It highlighted the inherent connection between money and politics, expressing concerns over potential quid pro quo arrangements facilitated by anonymous donations through electoral bonds.

Argument:


The Court firmly rejected the government’s contention that citizens lack a general right to know about political party funding. It underscored that such information is vital for voters to evaluate the nexus between financial contributions and policymaking. Despite the government’s claim that the scheme ensured donor anonymity, the Court pointed out its inherent flaws, allowing political parties to access contributor details. The judgment emphasized that electoral bonds give undue influence to economically resourced contributors, undermining transparency and the democratic process.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s verdict on the electoral bond scheme marks a significant victory for transparency and the right to information in Indian democracy. By upholding voters’ right to know about political funding, the Court has reaffirmed the foundational principles of democracy. The ruling underscores the importance of accountability and transparency in political financing, crucial for maintaining the integrity of the electoral process. It sets a precedent for future electoral reforms, emphasizing the need to enhance transparency and accountability in political funding to uphold the democratic ethos of the nation.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh

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