Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, Election Commission on guidelines on ‘free gifts’ in elections

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Center and the Election Commission on framing of guidelines on “free gifts” promised by political parties ahead of elections.

Noting that it was a “serious issue”, and the “freebie budget” was going ahead of the regular budget, the court sought a response from the election body and the central government in four weeks.

The Chief Justice of India said that the Supreme Court in a separate issue had directed the election body to frame guidelines on the matter, but the Election Commission had only one

Meeting whose outcome is unknown.

“Within limited scope, we had directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines. But later, he only held one meeting after our instruction. They sought views from political parties and after that I don’t know what happened,” Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said.

A bench of CJI Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing a petition filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, which said that public funds were being misused by all political parties, leaving the state in debt. are submerged.

The petition, filed ahead of assembly elections in five states, said such populist measures to gain undue political advantage from voters should be completely banned as they violate the Constitution and the Election Commission should take suitable preventive measures. The bench took note of the submissions of senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Upadhyay, that there is a need to enact a law on the issue and steps such as confiscation of party symbols or withdrawal of registration of parties or both are ultimately taken into account. It can be assumed. Citizens have to pay.

“Come see. For the time being, we will issue notice and let the Government of India and the Election Commission come back with some response,” the bench said after hearing brief arguments. May be included in.” Legally speaking, I am asking some legal questions in the debate. We want to know how to control all this. This is a serious issue, no doubt about it. The freebie budget is going beyond the regular budget and sometimes, as observed by the Supreme Court in this paragraph (of an earlier decision), it is not equal opportunity.

“The parties which make more promises have an advantage and a chance to win the election, though this is not a corrupt practice under the law,” the bench said. The top court took cognizance of the fact that the EC has held only one meeting on the issue of free gift promises during elections following the apex court’s decision on the issue. “The apex court had directed the Election Commission to frame guidelines on this. They have prepared guidelines but without any teeth,” replied the senior counsel.