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Double Proportionality and the Electoral Bond Ruling



  Feb 16, 2024

Double Proportionality and the Electoral Bond Ruling



Clash of Fundamental Rights

The Supreme Court’s verdict on electoral bonds presented a unique challenge, pitting the right to information against the right to privacy. This case highlighted the need for a nuanced approach to resolve conflicts between fundamental rights.

Double Proportionality Explained

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s “double proportionality” test emerged as a crucial judicial tool in this context. This method involves two major steps:

1. Evaluating the Least Intrusive Means: The court examines if the state’s approach to achieve its goals is the least harmful to the rights involved, ensuring minimal infringement.

2. Assessing Balanced Impact: It checks for a disproportionate effect on either right, striving for a fair balance where neither right is unduly prejudiced.

The Electoral Bond Judgment

In the electoral bonds case, the Supreme Court applied the “double proportionality” test to scrutinize the scheme’s impact on these conflicting rights. The judgment focused on whether the scheme’s restrictions on the right to information were justified by its aims to curb black money and protect donor privacy.

Outcome of the Ruling

The Court found that the electoral bonds scheme did not satisfy the criteria of being the least restrictive means available. It concluded that alternative methods, like electoral trusts, could achieve the government’s objectives without significantly infringing on either the right to information or the right to privacy.

Significance for Future Legal Challenges

This landmark ruling not only invalidated the electoral bonds scheme but also set a precedent for how courts might approach similar disputes involving fundamental rights. The “double proportionality” test is now a critical framework for ensuring that government actions remain balanced and just, reflecting a deep commitment to safeguarding individual liberties against unnecessary state encroachment.

SRIRAM’s


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