The Supreme Court ruled highlighting the value of openness in the democratic process and stating that every voter has a right to complete disclosure of a candidate’s background. Although India is a democratic nation, the top court noted in its ruling that the right to vote has not been regarded as a fundamental right. The decision was made in response to an appeal made against a decision of the Telangana High Court that rejected a motion to dismiss an election petition filed against Bhim Rao Baswanth Rao Patil.
The controversy started when Bhim Rao Patil, the head of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), was accused of giving fraudulent information in his election affidavit by Congress leader K Madan Mohan Rao, who lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Zahirabad to Patil. Rao explicitly claimed that Patil broke electoral rules by not disclosing several criminal cases that had been brought against him.
Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar stated in a thorough ruling that “the freedom to vote, based on an informed choice, is a key component of the essence of democracy. This precious privilege, which each citizen has an unalienable right to enjoy, is the outcome of a long and tragic struggle for freedom and Swaraj. One of the fundamental components of the Constitution has been regarded to be a democracy. However, somewhat ironically, the right to vote was previously referred to as a mere statute right and has not yet been accepted as a Fundamental Right.”
The bench rejected Patil’s appeal, reiterating that voters have a right to be informed of a candidate’s whole history. “Even if the allegations regarding non-disclosure of cases where the appellant has been arrayed as an accused, are ultimately true, the effect of such allegations has to be considered after a full trial,” said the bench.