Plea challenging freebies: Supreme Court issue notice to Centre
The petitioner sought directions to the Election Commission to seize election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies from public funds
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Election Commission challenging freebies promised by the political parties before the Assembly elections.
While hearing the petition, Chief Justice N.V. Ramana observed that promising freebies is a serious issue, freebies budget is going beyond the regular budget, the court said and sought a response from the Election Commission of India and Centre.
"Within the limited scope, we had directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines. But subsequently, they conducted only one meeting after our directions. They sought views from political parties and thereafter I do not know what happened," CJI N.V. Ramana said.
In a different issue, the court had directed ECI to frame guidelines on the matter, but ECI has conducted only one meeting in this regard, but it did not disclose any outcome of the meeting.
BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay filed a PIL seeking a ban on freebies, seeking appropriate direction to the ECI. Petitioner has stated that public funds were being misused by all political parties, pushing states deeper into debt. Senior advocate Vikas Singh appeared for the petitioner.
The petitioner sought directions to the Election Commission to seize election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies from public funds. "Money of the citizens is being misused despite the Election Commission rules," it stated.
The plea also claims that promise or distribution of irrational freebies from public funds before elections could unduly influence the voters. "It shakes the roots of a free and fair election, disturbs level playing field and vitiates purity of the election process," the petitioner stated.