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PIL filed in SC against freebies by political parties during elections

ANI | Updated: Jan 22, 2022 14:10 IST

New Delhi [India], January 22 (ANI): A petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Election Commission of India to seize election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies from public funds.
The PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay claimed political parties' arbitrarily promises or irrational freebies for wrongful gain and to lure voters in their favour is analogous to bribery and undue influences.
It claimed that promise or distribution of irrational freebies from public funds before elections could unduly influence the voters, shake the roots of a free and fair election, and disturb the level playing field, besides vitiating the purity of the election process.
"Direct and declare that promise/distribution of irrational freebies from the public fund before the election to lure voters is analogous to the Bribery and Undue Influence under Section 171B and Section 171C of the IPC," the plea stated.

It further sought direction to the ECI to insert an additional condition: "political party shall not promise/distribute irrational freebies from the public fund before the election" in paras 6A, 6B and 6C of the Election Symbols Order 1968.
It said that "rather than promising better rule of law, equal pay for equal work, clean water, equal quality education, quality healthcare, quality infrastructure, speedy justice, free legal aid, citizen charter, judicial charter, efficient police system, effective administrative system; political parties arbitrarily promised irrational freebies from the public fund".
The petition stated that unfortunately, freebies are not connected with job creation, development, or agriculture and voters are lured to cast votes in their favour by magical promises.
It has become a fashion for the political parties to announce free electricity in their election manifesto though State has not been able to provide electricity for more than 16 hours and a large population doesn't even have access to electricity which has been recognized as a fundamental right, the petition added.
"Political parties announce unemployment allowance in the manifesto which makes youth lazy and dampen the working culture of the people. Rather than giving unemployment allowance, executives should provide a quality education so that youth can create job opportunities on their own. In this process, honest taxpayers have been made mute spectators," the plea submitted.
"Petitioner submits that healthcare infrastructure is not good as it was seen during Covid times but political parties are ignorant of it," the plea further submitted. (ANI)