ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Transparency and Electoral Bonds

Will transparency foster accountability in India’s electoral system?

 

Why is there a renewed outcry about the soundness of electoral bonds now? Did we not know that the very inception of this instrument rode on the back of several contravening legislative actions taken by the ruling government? Recall the Election Commission’s letter to the Ministry of Law and Justice, dated 27 May 2017, which warned that the amendments to the Finance Acts would abet money laundering through shell companies; or those public interest litigations filed in 2017 by two Delhi-based civil society organisations, which debated that the response to a money bill for amending the laws regarding electoral funding undermines the legislative scheme as envisaged in the Constitution. Were we not aware that these legislative actions would not only trample the official dignity and constitutional sanctity of apex institutions of governance, but also destabilise several fundamental principles of polity?

Despite almost ubiquitous scepticism, the electoral bonds have prevailed. And, that too, almost solely with the backing of the ruling government’s rhetorical claims of “transparency of political funding system,” “clean money,” and “donor’s anonymity.” What had rendered such power to this rhetoric that it could make the highly palpable logical incongruity of these claims go unreckoned? If transparency is the quality of being easily seen through, then it cannot be compatible with anonymity, confidentiality, or impersonality. Again, corruption—whether due to impersonal market-like transactions or conditional on the social networks between bureaucrats and private agents—is potentially stimulated under conditions of opacity or obscurity, which is compatible with anonymity, in essence. Then, the cleansing of (black) money remains elusive.

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Updated On : 4th Dec, 2019
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