ANI Photo | SC agrees to list on March 21 PIL against practice of parties promising freebies during polls

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to list for hearing on March 21 a PIL against the practice of political parties promising freebies during elections.
“This is important. We will keep this on board tomorrow,” said a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra after petitioner’s lawyer in the case mentioned the matter for early hearing.
The plea said there should be a total ban on populist measures to gain undue political favour from voters as they violate the Constitution, and the Election Commission should take suitable deterrent measures.
The apex court had earlier said that the issue of freebies promised by the political parties during election campaigns requires extensive debate, and referred the case to a three-judges bench.
The top court is seized of a batch of pleas against freebies promised by political parties.
One of the pleas filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay sought direction to Election Commission of India 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 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.
“This unethical practice is just like giving bribes to the electorate at the cost of the exchequer to stay in power and must be avoided to preserve democratic principles and practices,” it said

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