Home laws Political influence of money not limited to poll outcomes but extends to government decisions: Supreme Court trendoogle

Political influence of money not limited to poll outcomes but extends to government decisions: Supreme Court trendoogle

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Political influence of money not limited to poll outcomes but extends to government decisions: Supreme Court trendoogle
Political influence of money not limited

Political influence of money not limited to poll outcomes but extends to government decisions: Supreme Court

CJI Justice D. Y. Chandrachud pronounces the judgement on the petitions challenging the Electoral Bonds Scheme, on February 15, 2024.

Political influence of money not limited: Supreme Court declares electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional

Political influence of money not limited : The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the influence of money over electoral politics in India is not limited to electoral outcomes but spills over to government decisions as well.

“The legal regime in India does not distinguish between campaign funding and electoral funding. The money which is donated to political parties is not used by the political party only for the purposes of electoral campaigns. Party donations are also used, for instance, to build offices for the political party and pay party workers,” observed Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, heading a Constitution Bench which struck down the electoral bonds scheme.

Again, the window for financial contributions to political parties is not open for a limited period prior to the elections, he noted. Money can be contributed to political parties throughout the year. “The contributed money can be spent by the political party for reasons other than just election campaigning,” the Chief Justice said.

Money buys access, influence

Political influence of money not limited
Political influence of money not limited

The court said that the economic inequality between rich political contributors, mostly corporations and companies, and ordinary citizens lead to “differing levels of political engagement because of the deep association between money and politics”.

At a primary level, political contributions give a “seat at the table” to the contributor or enhanced access to legislators.

“The access also translates into influence over policy-making. An economically affluent person has a higher ability to make financial contributions to political parties, and there is a legitimate possibility that financial contribution to a political party would lead to quid pro quo arrangements because of the close nexus between money and politics,” the court explained.

Political influence of money not limited

Chief Justice Chandrachud said that the influence of money over politics has made it all the more necessary for voters to access information about political funding, which will enable them to assess if there is a correlation between policy-making and financial contributions.

Political influence of money not limited: The Supreme Court’s acknowledgment of the pervasive influence of money in politics extends far beyond its impact on election outcomes, delving into the realm of governmental decision-making.

Political influence of money not limited
Political influence of money not limited

This recognition underscores a critical aspect of modern democratic governance, where financial interests often wield significant power in shaping policy decisions and legislative agendas.

In its landmark rulings and observations, the Supreme Court has highlighted how the infusion of money into the political process can lead to a distortion of priorities, with elected officials and policymakers catering to the interests of wealthy donors and corporate entities rather than serving the public good. This influence manifests in various forms, including campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, and corporate donations, all of which can exert undue influence on government decisions.

Furthermore, the Court has underscored the need for robust regulatory mechanisms to curb the influence of money in politics and safeguard the integrity of democratic institutions. Campaign finance laws, transparency measures, and anti-corruption regulations are essential tools in mitigating the corrosive effects of financial influence on governance.

Political influence of money not limited

Moreover, the Supreme Court has emphasized the importance of upholding the principles of accountability and transparency in political financing, ensuring that citizens have access to information about the sources of funding for political campaigns and the interests behind policy decisions. By promoting greater transparency, the Court seeks to empower voters to make informed choices and hold elected officials accountable for their actions.

In sum, the Supreme Court’s recognition of the broad-reaching influence of money in politics reflects a commitment to upholding the fundamental principles of democracy and ensuring that government decisions are guided by the interests of the public rather than the influence of wealthy elites. Through its jurisprudence and advocacy for robust regulatory frameworks, the Court plays a crucial role in safeguarding the integrity of democratic governance and protecting the rights of citizens to participate meaningfully in the political process.

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