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Voters Right In Election: The Power Of An Informed Vote In Strengthening Democracy

The voter's right to know the antecedents of candidates is based on the interpretation of Article 19(1)(a), which provides that all citizens of the country have the fundamental right to "freedom of speech and expression." This phrase is construed to include the fundamental right to know the relevant antecedents of candidates contesting elections. The directions issued in Union of India vs Association for Democratic Reforms (2002) 5 SCC 294: AIR 2002 SC 2112 are based on a sound foundation and can be stated thus:
  1. A Democratic Republic is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
  2. For this, free and fair periodic elections based on adult franchise are a must.
  3. For an unpolluted, healthy democracy, citizens-voters-should be well-informed.
The foundation of a healthy democracy is to have well-informed citizen voters. The reason to have a right to information regarding the antecedents of a candidate is so that a voter can judge and decide in whose favor they should cast their vote. It is their choice whether to elect a candidate against whom criminal cases for serious or non-serious charges were filed but who is acquitted or discharged.

They must consider whether their candidate may or may not have sufficient assets so that they may not be tempted to indulge in unjustified means for accumulating wealth. Exposure to public scrutiny is one known means of getting clean and less polluted persons to govern the country. A citizen-voter must have the necessary information so that they can intelligently decide in favor of a candidate who satisfies their criteria for being elected as an MP or MLA.

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