The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear a PIL seeking to scrap the registration of parties that promise freebies during elections. Last week, the Supreme Court took issue with political parties promising freebies to influence voters and asked the central government to look into the issue of freebies to woo voters. Commitments can be controlled.
A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana asked the Center to ask the Finance Commission whether there is any possibility of stopping state governments and political parties from promising and distributing unreasonable freebies to woo voters. Is.
Initially, the bench asked Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj to know the Centre’s stand on the matter.
A bench comprising Justices Krishna Marari and Hema Kohli told Nataraj, representing the central government, “You take a position whether the free should continue or not.”
On the other hand, the lawyer of the Election Commission took the stand that in the previous decisions it was said that the manifesto is part of the promises of the political party.
To this, the bench replied: “We are free to bribe voters. Now if you say it is hands off for you, then what is the purpose of the Election Commission of India?”
In April this year, the EC told the Supreme Court that offering freebies before or after elections is a policy decision of a political party, and cannot regulate state policies and party decisions.
The EC’s counsel suggested that the central government could bring a law to deal with the matter, but Nataraj suggested that it falls under the EC’s jurisdiction.
Taking exception to Nataraj’s pleas, the bench asked the central government to take a stand on the matter.
“Why don’t you say you have nothing to do with it and call the ECI? I am asking whether the Government of India is considering whether it is a serious issue or not?”
“Why are you hesitating to take a stand? You take a stand and then we will decide whether to continue these muftis or not,” he told Nataraj.
At this point, the bench turned to senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was present in the courtroom for another matter. “Mr. Sibal is here as a senior parliamentarian. What is your view?… How to control these freebies?”
Sibal said muftis were a “serious issue” and it would not be appropriate to put the responsibility on the central government. He said the issue would have to be dealt with at the state government level and suggested using the expertise of the Finance Commission.
Stating that the Finance Commission is an independent body, Sibal added that while making allocations to states, it can examine the debts of each state and check whether the free offer is viable or not. no.
The bench then told Nataraj: “Please check with the Finance Commission. Will list it sometime next week… What is the option to start a discussion…”.
Petitioner’s lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay described the matter as serious and submitted that the Election Commission should stop giving such items to state and national political parties. “There should be a reasonable commitment,” Upadhyay said, referring to the total debt of Rs 6.5 lakh crore. “We are on the way to becoming Sri Lanka,” he said.
The Supreme Court was hearing a PIL by Upadhyay against declarations by political parties to woo voters freely during elections. On January 25, it had issued a notice to the Center and the Election Commission on the petition.
In an affidavit, the ECI said: “Offering/distribution of any freebie before or after elections is a policy decision of the party concerned and whether such policies are financially viable or have an impact on the economic health of the state.” Adverse effect is a question for state voters to consider and decide.
It added: “The Election Commission cannot regulate state policies and decisions that the winning party may take while forming the government. Such action without enabling provisions in law would be in excess of powers.”
Upadhyay’s PIL claims that the promise or disbursement of unreasonable freebies from public funds before the elections shakes the roots of a free and fair election and undermines the integrity of the electoral process. The petition sought a direction from the Supreme Court to declare that the promise of unreasonable gratuities from public funds before elections, which are not for public purposes, violates Articles 14, 162, 266 (3) and 282 of the Constitution. Violates
The petition sought to impose a condition on the political party not to promise or disburse unreasonable gratuities from public funds. The EC responded that “this may result in a situation where political parties lose their identity even before they show their electoral performance”.
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