SC to Hear PIL on Freebies During Polls

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) on Thursday, challenging the practice of political parties promising freebies during elections. The development comes as the country gears up for General Elections starting on April 19. The PIL also called for the Election Commission to exercise its authority to freeze election symbols and revoke the registration of parties engaging in such practices.

Acknowledging the significance of the issue, the bench, led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and including Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, assured to address the matter promptly.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, representing the petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, sought an urgent consideration of the plea before the Lok Sabha polls commence.
The PIL argued for a complete ban on populist measures aimed at garnering undue political favour from voters, citing violations of the Constitution. It also urged the court to recognise that the distribution of irrational freebies from public funds before elections unfairly influences voters and compromises the integrity of the electoral process.
The petitioner contended that this practice poses a significant threat to democratic values and undermines the essence of the Constitution by equating it to bribery, funded by the public treasury, to secure political power.
Additionally, the petition sought an amendment to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, stipulating that political parties cannot promise or distribute irrational freebies using public funds before elections.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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