New Delhi. Hearing in the freebies case, the Supreme Court on Friday said that freebies given using taxpayers’ money can lead the government to ‘imminent bankruptcy’. Along with this, the court has directed on Friday to list the petitions raising the issue of promises of free gifts by political parties before the elections before a three-judge bench.
Referring to the need for a “comprehensive” hearing of the aspects placed before it, the court observed that though not all promises can be clubbed with freebies, as they pertain to welfare schemes or measures for public good. But financial responsibility cannot be shied away under the guise of election promises.
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The court said that these schemes are not only part of the Directive Principles of State Policy, but also the responsibility of the welfare state. Chief Justice of India N. A bench of V. Ramana, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice CT Ravikumar took note of the fact that some preliminary issues raised in these petitions need to be considered.
Today was the last day of Justice Ramana’s tenure. The court’s order comes amid the ongoing debate on ‘free gifts’ versus ‘welfare schemes’. “The free facilities may create a situation where the state government cannot provide basic facilities due to paucity of funds,” the bench said. The state could be pushed towards imminent bankruptcy. We must also remember that by providing such free gift facility, taxpayers money is only used for increasing the popularity of our party and for electoral prospects.”
The court said that the argument was placed before it that ‘S. The 2013 judgment delivered by a two-judge bench of the apex court in Subramanian Balaji v. Government of Tamil Nadu & Ors’ requires reconsideration. “In view of the complexity of the issues involved and the request to set aside the judgment passed by a two-judge bench of this court in the Subramanian Balaji case, we would like to consider this set of petitions three times after the order of the Chief Justice,” the bench said. directs to be listed before a bench of judges.
The top court on Friday said that these petitions will be listed after four weeks. The Court, in its 2013 judgment, had said that after examining and considering the parameters laid down in Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, it has come to the conclusion that the promises made in the election manifesto are corrupt under Section 123. cannot be called conduct.
“Finally, it appears that the issues raised by the political parties require a comprehensive hearing before passing any order,” the bench said. Related to the promise of distributing free gifts as part of election manifestos or during election speeches.
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The court further said that the main contention of the petitioners is that such election promises have an impact on the economy of the state and cannot be allowed. “It cannot be denied that in an electoral democracy like ours, the true power ultimately rests with the voters,” the bench said.
The top court said that it is the voter who decides which party or candidate will come to power and they also assess the performance of the said party or candidate at the end of the legislative term. During the hearing on Thursday, the court had said that the “serious” issue related to the practice of giving free gifts by political parties should be looked into. The bench had asked why the Center cannot call an all-party meeting on the matter.
The bench was considering petitions filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, opposing such promises made by political parties during elections. The petitioner demands that the Election Commission should exercise its powers to confiscate the symbols of such parties and cancel their registration.
The top court, while hearing the matter on August 23, had said that all political parties are in favor of free gifts and that is why a judicial effort has been made to deal with it. The bench had said, “I can say that all political parties including BJP are on one side on this issue. Everyone wants free things. That’s why we have tried. (with agency input)
Tags: Supreme Court
FIRST PUBLISHED : August 26, 2022, 23:27 IST