India’s Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bonds Scheme: Transparency Trumps Anonymity

India’s Supreme Court Strikes Down Electoral Bonds Scheme: Transparency Trumps Anonymity

In a landmark decision, India’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court, has ruled against the Electoral Bonds Scheme, citing it as an infringement upon critical constitutional rights. The momentous judgment was delivered by a united five-judge Constitution Bench, led by the eminent Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Electoral Bonds Scheme violates critical constitutional rights concerning the right to information and freedom of speech and expression. The apex court’s decision, led by the Chief Justice, indicated that such a scheme infringed upon citizens’ constitutional entitlement to political privacy and affiliation, which falls under the broader spectrum of the right to privacy. As a result, the scheme does not align with Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which ensures the protection of freedom of speech and expression. The court’s judgment implies that the Electoral Bonds Scheme must undergo significant changes to maintain the constitutionally upheld values of transparency and freedom within the country’s democratic framework.

The contentious Electoral Bonds Scheme was introduced on January 2, 2018, by the government as a purported means to enhance the transparency of political contributions. However, the apex court’s ruling underscores concerns over its compatibility with the fundamental principles of information transparency and freedom of expression safeguarded by the Constitution.

Chief Justice Chandrachud stated that the scheme undermined the essence of Article 19(1)(a), which guarantees freedom of speech and expression. The decision of the court stressed that the right to privacy, as ingrained in the fundamental rights, expressly extends to the political privacy and affiliations of citizens.

The scheme previously allowed Indian citizens and corporate entities to purchase electoral bonds anonymously, individually, or in association with others. This mechanism was aimed at donating cashless funds to political parties. However, following the Supreme Court’s verdict, critical revisions to the scheme are anticipated to align with the democratic ethos of transparency and the free exchange of information.
#RightToInformation #FreedomOfSpeech #PoliticalPrivacy #LandmarkJudgment #ElectoralBonds #Transparency #RightToInformation #FreedomOfSpeech #Privacy #LandmarkJudgment

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