Mayukha Kommoju,  Student at Damodaram Sanjeevyya National Law University 


Transparency and accountability in India’s electoral processes are crucial for democracy. Enhanced measures, such as Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), voter-verified paper audit trails (VVPATs), and stringent monitoring, aim to prevent fraud and ensure fair elections. The Election Commission of India (ECI) oversees these efforts, promoting voter education and addressing grievances, thereby strengthening public trust and integrity in the electoral system.


India’s election process, as outlined in the Constitution and other election regulations, is essential to the nation’s thriving democracy. Maintaining the effectiveness and integrity of elections across the country is greatly aided by this organized procedure.

The formal process through which voters in a nation or other political body, like a state or local government, select their representatives or leaders is known as an election.

A thorough and organized electoral process, along with specialized election machinery, have been established under India’s constitutional and legal frameworks pertaining to elections.
There are several steps in the election process, which are as follows, from the announcement of elections until the declaration of results:

  • Election Schedule Announced by the ECI,
  • Notification Issued by the ECI
  • Candidates submitting their nominations,
  • Candidate affirmations or oaths,
  • The candidates’ campaigns for elections,
  • Polling of Votes,
  • Vote counting, and
  • Constitution of House

Addressing legal perspectives on transparency and accountability is crucial because it ensures fairness and trust in systems like governance and business. Clear laws help prevent corruption, protect rights, and build public confidence. By enforcing rules and providing checks and balances, legal frameworks promote ethical behavior and help maintain a just and transparent society.


The Election Commission of India is vested by the Constitution with the authority to oversee, direct, and manage elections for the Indian parliament, state legislatures, the office of the president of India, and the office of vice-president of India. The Central government and the State governments of India share the Election Commission as a single entity. It should be mentioned that the commission is not involved in the state’s municipal and panchayat elections. Therefore, the Indian Constitution provides for a distinct State Election Commission.

Under Article 324(1) of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission of India, interalia, is vested with the power of superintendence, direction and control of conducting the elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President of India. Detailed provisions are made under the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 and the rules made thereunder.                                                                                                                           There has always been disagreement about whether the right to vote is a basic or constitutional right. It has just been established by a Supreme Court ruling that the right to vote is guaranteed under the constitution. The ruling has now prompted the inquiry, “Why is the right to vote a constitutional right?” 

The Indian Constitution mentions the right to vote in Article 326. Any rule or right contained in the constitution that does not fall under any particular category is referred to as a constitutional law or right, according to the nation’s top law authority. Voting is considered a Constitutional right since it is listed in the Constitution and does not fall under the heading of Fundamental Rights. 

With multiple states in the nation currently hosting elections, all eligible Indians have the chance to exercise their right to vote and participate in the political process. The Indian Constitution guarantees the right to vote to all Indian citizens above the age of 18, irrespective of their caste, religion, social class, or economic status.

The Constitution, which safeguards voting rights, grants you certain rights and privileges. It also specifies the conditions under which citizens are granted this privilege. Voting is not a basic right; rather, it is a legal privilege granted to citizens.

India’s election financing laws, regulations, and standards are meant to preserve accountability, integrity, and transparency in the political process. Aspects of election expenditure by political parties and individual candidates are covered by these regulations.

A thorough framework for maintaining and submission of election expenses by candidates is outlined in the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951.


The ECI, which was founded on January 25, 1950, safeguards against electoral fraud by guaranteeing that the public voice is heard openly and impartially. It has political influence-free authority and promotes an unbiased electoral process in its capacity as a constitutional body.
Let’s examine the steps the ECI takes to ensure transparency in poll preparation and the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Pre-poll preparation: Every step of the electoral process is planned by ECI months in advance of the polls. In order to guarantee a transparent process, it organizes voter registration drives, sends out security staff, makes sure there are enough supplies on hand, and double checks every last detail needed for the polls. 

Model Code of Conduct: A collection of rules known as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is intended to guarantee fairness for all political parties. To ensure fair elections, MCC provides a list of all the dos and don’ts for political party campaigning. Eight provisions are covered by it: general behavior, gatherings, processions, election day, polling places, observers, the ruling party, and election manifestos. MCC binds all parties equally and strictly. ECI notifies a party or candidate in the event of a suspected breach, either on its own initiative or in response to a complaint from another party or candidate. Following receipt of such notice, the concerned party or candidate shall reply in writing, either by apologizing and admitting responsibility for the claim or by disputing it. If the latter occurs and they are subsequently found guilty, the ECI may issue a written reprimand, which many view as a light penalty. 

Challenging electoral irregularities: Despite all the protections, electoral malpractice may still occur in India due to its large voter base. ECI has put in place a number of measures, including rigorous enforcement against offenders, voter awareness initiatives, and regular monitoring, to stop such malpractices from occurring. ECI keeps voters in a transparent and equitable environment by acting quickly and vigilantly.


Accountability is essential to establishing confidence between the people and their government in a democracy. Public trust is fostered through open and transparent systems that guarantee elected officials’ and institutions’ activities are scrutinized. But the introduction of electoral bonds in India has sparked serious questions about political financing accountability and how it would affect democratic governance.

When electoral bonds were first introduced as a way for political parties to raise money in India, they were hailed as a way to bring transparency to the transparent world of political financing. But the feature that permits anonymity in these bonds has created a complex accountability environment with numerous difficulties.

The major method that electoral bonds impact accountability is through donor identity obscuration. Political parties receive funding without revealing the source thanks to the anonymity these bonds provide, which raises concerns about possible conflicts of interest and undue influence. Without knowing who finances political parties, the public is kept in the dark about the special interests influencing political decisions and policies.

 Furthermore, electoral bonds’ lack of accountability threatens the democratic process’s tenets of justice and openness. In order to be considered accountable, institutions and elected officials must take responsibility for their choices and actions. The capacity of political parties to accept significant financial contributions without having to reveal the source, however, makes accountability elusive. 

Moreover, the use of electoral bonds affects regulatory monitoring and enforcement systems. Regulatory agencies have a difficult time keeping an eye on and controlling the flow of money into politics if political fundraising is transparent. The absence of accountability in electoral bonds hinders the efficient implementation of campaign finance laws and makes it impossible to ensure compliance with current requirements.

Beyond the domain of political finance, electoral bonds have an effect on accountability in more general governance matters. It becomes more challenging to hold elected officials responsible for their acts while in office when political party funding is obscured. When it comes to making informed judgments during elections, citizens are left without the knowledge they need to assess the work of their representatives.

The recent ruling by the Indian Supreme Court that the Anonymous Electoral Bond program is illegal is a big step in the right direction toward bringing back transparency in political funding. Transparency and accountability are crucial to democratic governance, as the Court has demonstrated by finding that the program breaches the Right to Information (RTI) and ordering the State Bank of India to stop issuing these bonds.


Challenges to transparency and accountability in India’s electoral process are multifaceted. Despite advancements like Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs), concerns persist regarding their reliability and susceptibility to tampering. The integrity of electoral rolls is another critical issue, with allegations of voter exclusion and duplicate entries undermining confidence.

Money power significantly influences elections, with candidates and parties often exceeding expenditure limits through unreported funds, leading to an uneven playing field. The influence of criminal elements in politics is another challenge, as candidates with criminal backgrounds exploit the system to secure power.

Media bias and misinformation campaigns also pose threats, as biased reporting and fake news can skew public perception and voting behavior. Social media platforms, while democratizing information, often become conduits for spreading false narratives, complicating the electoral landscape.

Moreover, the Election Commission of India (ECI), despite its efforts, sometimes faces accusations of partiality and inefficiency in enforcing laws and regulations. Ensuring complete transparency in its operations and decision-making processes remains a challenge.

Finally, voter apathy and lack of awareness about electoral processes and rights can diminish accountability, as low participation and engagement reduce the pressure on political entities to act ethically. Addressing these challenges is vital for strengthening democracy in India.


Enhancing transparency and accountability in India’s electoral process requires several key recommendations. Firstly, strengthening the reliability of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) through regular audits and independent testing is essential. Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of electoral rolls by implementing robust verification mechanisms can prevent voter exclusion and duplication. Strict enforcement of campaign finance laws, including stringent monitoring and penalties for violations, can curb the undue influence of money in elections. Addressing the criminalization of politics requires disqualifying candidates with serious criminal charges to uphold ethical standards.

Improving media regulations to prevent bias and misinformation, alongside promoting digital literacy to combat fake news, can help safeguard informed voting. Enhancing the autonomy and resources of the Election Commission of India (ECI) will enable more effective oversight and impartiality. Finally, voter education campaigns should be intensified to increase public awareness and participation, fostering a more engaged and accountable electorate.

Transparency and accountability in the electoral process are pillars of a thriving democracy, ensuring the public’s trust and participation in governance. The Indian electoral system, with its robust constitutional and legal frameworks, strives to uphold these principles through meticulous planning, stringent regulations, and independent oversight by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The electoral process involves multiple stages from the announcement of elections to the declaration of results, each designed to promote transparency and fairness. Mechanisms such as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), voter awareness campaigns, and rigorous monitoring play critical roles in maintaining the integrity of elections. However, challenges persist. The advent of electoral bonds has introduced complexities in political financing, undermining transparency and accountability by allowing anonymous donations. This lack of transparency can erode public trust and enable undue influence over political decisions. The Supreme Court’s recent ruling against the anonymity of electoral bonds marks a significant step towards reinstating transparency in political funding.

Technological advancements like Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) have improved the electoral process, yet concerns about their reliability and tamper-resistance continue to surface. The integrity of electoral rolls, media bias, misinformation, and the influence of money and criminal elements further complicate the landscape, highlighting the need for continuous vigilance and reform.

To enhance transparency and accountability, recommendations include strengthening the reliability of EVMs and VVPATs, ensuring accurate electoral rolls, enforcing campaign finance laws, disqualifying candidates with serious criminal charges, and improving media regulations. Empowering the ECI with greater autonomy and resources and intensifying voter education efforts are also crucial steps.

In conclusion, while India’s electoral system has made significant strides in ensuring transparency and accountability, ongoing efforts and reforms are essential to address existing challenges and maintain the public’s trust in the democratic process. This commitment to transparency and accountability not only fortifies the electoral process but also strengthens the very foundation of democratic governance in India.

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