DMK says 'Welfare schemes can't be called freebies'; approaches SC to be heard in freebies casetext_fields
New Delhi: On Tuesday, August 16, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) filed an impleadment motion with the Supreme Court, requesting to be included as a party in the claim that political parties should not be allowed to make giveaways during election campaigns. The DMK claimed that the current argument before the Supreme Court has implications for all of India because numerous programmes have been launched to target various population demographics, and only one programme cannot be implemented across all of the states.
The DMK claims in its motion before the court that there are no set criteria that can determine what scheme qualifies as a freebie. The DMK noted that state governments are permitted to enact social programmes per the Constitution. "Therefore, the term "freebies" cannot be interpreted in such a way which interferes with the State's competence," the DMK has said, according to the News Minute.
"It is for the government concerned to take into account its financial resources and the need of the people. There cannot be a straitjacket formula," the DMK said, adding that welfare schemes are government policy and are not subject to court review. The Constitution mandates that the state use these principles while creating such legislation.
According to the DMK, welfare programmes cannot be referred to as freebies because they are established to "secure a social order and economic justice" to "minimise the inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities".
The DMK also said that if welfare schemes are considered to be 'freebies', then "the ruling government at the Union giving tax holidays to foreign companies, waiver of bad loans of influential industrialists, granting crucial contracts to favoured conglomerates etc. also have to be considered and cannot be left untouched."
"Such (welfare) schemes have been introduced in order to provide basic necessities which the poor households cannot afford. They cannot be imputed to be luxuries," the DMK said.
"Schemes such as free electricity can have a multi-dimensional effect on a poor household. Electricity can provide lighting, heating and cooling resulting in a better standard of living. It can facilitate a child in his education and studies. A welfare scheme, therefore, can have a wide reach and multiple intentions behind its introduction and the cascading effect arising from it cannot be defined in a restrictive meaning as a freebie," the DMK has said.
Even though the court petition accuses political parties that control state governments in power, the DMK argued that the Union government has been made the only party in the case. "...The issues raised in the present writ petition are of great public importance and have a pan India ramification on the issue of "freebies" as different schemes have been promulgated targeting different population demographics. Any order passed by this Hon'ble Court in the present proceeding can have a cascading effect and affect the governance at the grass root level," the DMK said, asking to be impleaded in the case.