SC Refuses To Entertain PIL Against Promise Of Freebies By Political Parties During Polls
The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a PIL seeking direction to register FIRs against political parties for allegedly inducing voters by offering freebies, saying it felt the plea was motivated and a publicity interest litigation
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice N V Ramana, Justice A S Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli raised the issue of selectively naming five political parties accusing them of promising freebies in the PIL filed by the vice president of NGO, Hindu Sena.
"We feel it is motivated, selectively, to do damage you're doing this. You have a hidden agenda. Who are you", asked the Bench.
"I am the Vice President of Hindu Sena NGO," said Advocate Barun Kumar Sinha, appearing for the petitioner.
"Why does your petition have particular parties, it should have been general in nature," the Bench said, adding that it seems there was some hidden agenda in the publicity interest litigation.
The lawyer then withdrew the petition.
On Wednesday, the Apex Court had agreed to consider listing for an urgent hearing the plea which has accused Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, and Aam Aadmi Party of promising freebies in assembly polls in five states.
The plea was filed by Hindu Sena vice president Surjit Singh Yadav saying he was aggrieved by the offer and promises made by these five parties in the ongoing assembly election being held in five states.
"Such an offer or promise by a political party, its leader, candidates set up in the elections, may be declared to be indulging in corrupt practices and bribery in terms of provisions of Section 123 (1)(b) of the Representations of People Act, 1951 and the candidates set up by such political parties may be declared disqualified from contesting the election in that state" the petitioner had contended in the petition.
"This is important for free and fair voting of the candidates of elector choice. Further to maintain the purity of the election process, corrupt practices adopted by the political parties, their agents, candidates, and leaders must be deprecated at the threshold," the plea said.
The petition contended that the Election Commission should be directed to evolve a mechanism at the time of filing nominations, the declaration to the effect that their political parties on whose symbol, they are contesting the election, have not made any offer and promise of freebies at the cost of public money if they are voted to power.
"If such declarations by the candidates are found wrong, such candidates must be declared disqualified from contesting the election and if elected, such election may be declared void," the plea said.
Besides the Centre and the poll panel, the plea has made Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, and Aam Aadmi Party as parties.
Earlier, the Court had issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission on another PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay saying offering freebies is a serious issue as sometimes freebie budget is going beyond regular budget .
Upadhyay had sought a direction to the EC to seize the symbol or deregister a political party that promises or distributes irrational freebies before polls.
With PTI inputs