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Irrational "freebies" ahead of polls; Center, EC gets SC notice

Irrational freebies ahead of polls; Center, EC gets SC notice

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Union government and the Election Commission regarding political parties granting "freebies" for voters out of public funds. The court described the matter as very serious. It added that the freebie budget is going beyond state budget and sought addressees of the notices to respond in four weeks, NDTV reported.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said that the top court had directed EC to frame guidelines on the issue, and the poll body had held a meeting with political parties and sought their views, but he didn't hear further from them.

The Supreme Court bench of CJI NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing a plea filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay who sought deregistration of those parties and seizing of their election symbols, who promised to grant irrational freebies from public funds. He further said that public funds were misused by all political parties raising states' debt burden. He alleged that people's money was used to buy power despite the Election Commission rules.

The petitioner also argued that the promises of freebies could influence voters, tamper with free and fair elections, corrupt elections' purity and disturb the equal playing field of candidates. The trend is an enormous threat to democratic values and injures the spirit of the Constitution. It is unethical to bribe the electorate at the cost of public exchequer, the plea said.

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TAGS:Supreme CourtAssembly polls
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