'No urgency to hear matter of freebies promised by parties'

The petition seeking an urgent hearing of the plea was mentioned for urgent hearing before the Supreme Court today.
Supreme Court Of India
Supreme Court Of IndiaReuters

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said that there was no urgency to hear the matter against freebies promised by the political parties during election campaigns.

The petition seeking an urgent hearing of the plea was mentioned for urgent hearing before the Supreme Court today.

Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay mentioned the matter before a bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justices Hemant Gupta saying elections are to be announced in Gujarat and parties are making irresponsible promises.

CJI Lalit then said there is no urgent hearing and asked to send the files of the case to his chamber.

Earlier, a bench headed by the then CJI NV Ramana had said that the issue of freebies promised by the political parties during election campaigns requires extensive debate, and referred the case to a three-judge bench.

The top court's order came on a batch of pleas against freebies promised by political parties.

The top court had asked the Centre the reason behind not calling for an all-party meeting to determine issues relating to the promise of freebies during election campaigns.

It had also said that it cannot prevent political parties from making promises during the election campaigns but the question is what constitutes the right promises and what is the right way of spending public money.

Political parties like Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had sought to intervene in the matter and opposed the plea.

AAP had filed an application stating that electoral promises such as free water, electricity, and free transport are not 'freebies' but these schemes are absolutely essential in an unequal society.

One of the pleas filed by Upadhyay sought direction to seize election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies from public funds.

The plea had claimed that 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.

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