THE HINDU EDITORIAL

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Scuttling opposition: On Income-Tax department action against the Congress

Income-Tax department’s freezing of Congress accounts seems political

This unusual I-T move came to light a day after the Supreme Court of India expanded on the link between money and politics in a verdict that held the secretive electoral bond scheme to be unconstitutional. Money has the power to influence politics, and disparity in access to funds can create political inequality and distort electoral outcomes. The Court’s judgment echoed this in its verdict which held the electoral bond scheme as violative of fundamental rights. The BJP has championed the scheme that allows anonymous donors to contribute unlimited amounts to parties as an instrument to combat electoral corruption. Stalling the bank account of the Opposition, regardless of the Income-Tax department’s allegations, cannot be viewed as routine law enforcement. Weaponisation of the law against political opponents of the ruling party has become a serious threat to India’s democracy. The brazen partisanship of central agencies that target the critics of the government is undermining the political system. The claim that all this is being done for fighting corruption and ensuring transparency cannot be taken at face value. All stakeholders must be accountable in a democracy, and the ruling party more so. When accountability is invoked for scuttling the political activity of the Opposition, that can only bode ill for democracy.