Breaking: Center Says Promise Of Freebies Distort Decision Making Of Voters- SC To Constitute Body To Consider Issue
The Supreme Court today directed parties to suggest names for the constitution of a body to deliberate on the issues of promise of freebies by political parties before elections.
The Bench comprising of Chief Justice N. V. Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli observed that it is a serious issue. It said that all the stakeholders should be involved in the process of brainstorming and come to some solutions on the issue. The Court directed parties to make suggestions regarding the constitution of the body. The matter will be taken up on Thursday.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Center today told the Court that the promise of freebies before the election distorts the decision-making of the voters. He also said that we are heading towards an economic disaster due to the practice.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, who was present in the Court made submissions at the request of the Bench. He said that the ECI should be kept out of the deliberation so that the issue does not become political. He said that it is an economical issue.
However, Tushar Mehta and Senior Advocate Vikas Singh for the Petitioner Ashvini Kumar Upadhyay opposed the suggestion. "It is a recipe for not solving the problem", Tushar Mehta said.
The Court had on the previous hearing issued notice and sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission of India (ECI) the PIL seeking a direction to seize the election symbol or de-register a political party that promises or distributes irrational freebies from public funds before elections.
The plea seeks a total ban on such populist measures to gain undue political favor from voters as they violate the Constitution and the ECI should take suitable deterrent measures.
As per the Petitioner, the recent trend of political parties trying to influence voters by offering freebies with an eye on elections is not only a threat to the survival of democratic values but also injures the spirit of the Constitution. The plea has been filed through Advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey.
This unethical practise is just like giving bribes to the electorate at the cost of the exchequer to stay in power and must be avoided to preserve democratic principles and practices, the plea says.
The Petitioner says that arbitrary promises of irrational freebies violate the ECI's mandate for free and fair elections and distributing private goods-services, which are not for public purposes, from public funds clearly violate Articles 14, 162, 266(3) and 282 of the Constitution.