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Electoral bonds were a scandal: Amartya Sen

By Sudipto Chowdhury
Last updated on: February 26, 2024 16:30 IST
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Eminent economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday described the electoral bonds scheme as a scandal and welcomed the Supreme Court's recent judgment annulling it.

IMAGE: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in 2020. Photograph: ANI Photo

Speaking to PTI from Massachusetts, United States, Sen said that the move will lead to greater transparency among people in the electoral context.

"Electoral bonds were a scandal, and I am glad that they have now been dropped. I hope there will be more transparency in the support that people give to each other in the electoral context," Sen said.


In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court annulled the electoral bonds scheme on February 15, citing violations of the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to information.

The apex court directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to disclose details of each electoral bond encashed by political parties to the Election Commission.

This information should include the date of encashment and the denomination of the bonds and be submitted to the poll panel by March 6.

According to Sen, India's electoral system has been significantly affected by the nature of politics, making it difficult for the common people to be heard.

"The electoral system in India is much affected by the nature of party politics, which makes it very hard for common people to get the hearing that they should get in the polls," he said.

The economist said the country's electoral system is influenced by how the government treats opposition parties.

"It is influenced by the treatment of opposition parties and those that the government would like to keep under restrictions. We do want a free electoral system as much as possible, in addition to freedom of speech and action of citizens," he said.

"The Indian Constitution wanted to give all citizens substantial political freedom and did not want any particular community to have privileged standing," Sen said.

The Nobel laureate said he hasn't been keeping well.

Incidentally, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram had also hailed the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the electoral bond scheme, saying it is a great victory for transparency.

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Sudipto Chowdhury
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