SC notice to Centre, EC on plea seeking deregistration of parties over freebies promise

Updated on Jan 25, 2022 01:44 PM IST

The plea has been filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking a complete ban on populist measures by political parties by promising freebies as they violate the Constitution.

A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli sought response from both the Centre and the EC within four weeks. (Picture for representation only/HT)
A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli sought response from both the Centre and the EC within four weeks. (Picture for representation only/HT)
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the central government and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a petition seeking seizure of election symbols and deregistration of political parties who make "irrational promise of freebies using public funds" ahead of assembly elections.

The plea has been filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.

Catch all latest updates of assembly elections here

A bench constituting Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli sought the response from both the BJP-led Centre and the EC within four weeks.

The petition stated that there should be a complete ban on such populist tactics in order to achieve undue political favour from voters since they flout the constitutional norms, and the ECI should take relevant preventive measures against them.

Also Read | Ek Mauka Kejriwal Ko: AAP kicks off drive for assembly elections

This development comes ahead of a total of five states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur going into polls next month. Several leaders have over the past few months promised free electricity and water supply, among others, to the citizens of the poll-bound states.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has promised free electricity up to 300 units per billing cycle in both Punjab and Goa. Samajwadi Party (SP) president and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav has also promised 300 units of free electricity to every household of the northern state should they win next month's elections.

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“This will be the first promise in the SP's manifesto,” Akhilesh had said during the announcement, adding that everyone knows what “SP promises, it delivers.”

Congress leader and the chief minister of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi has also announced such “freebies.” In October last year, Channi announced waiving off pending electricity as well as water bills for consumers of rural and urban regions of the state.

Kejriwal later slammed the Congress chief minister by terming him “fake Kejriwal” for repeating his promises. The AAP chief soon after promised to transfer 1,000 every month into the accounts of each woman in Punjab who is aged above 18 if his party wins the upcoming state election.

Also Read | UP assembly polls: EC seeks report on Samajwadi Party’s free power supply campaign

Polling will occur in as many as seven phases in Uttar Pradesh between February 10 and March 7, while it will take place in a single phase in Uttarakhand and Goa on February 14. In Manipur, the assembly elections will occur in two phases on February 27 and March 3, and in Punjab, it will be held in a single phase on February 20. The counting of votes and declaration of results in all the five poll-bound states will happen on March 10.

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