SC seeks Centre reply on political parties doling out freebees

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SC seeks Centre reply on political parties doling out freebees

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the demand for derecognition of political parties that make announcements that give free gifts to woo voters during elections. The court has directed the central government to prepare a report in consultation with other institutions, including the Reserve Bank, NITI Aayog and Opposition political parties, and place it before the court. The next hearing in the case will be on August 11.
The Supreme Court had on July 26, asked the Center to find out from the Finance Commission whether the implementation of freebie schemes could be stopped in the already debt-ridden state. On January 25, the court issued notices to the central government and the Election Commission.
In the petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, it has been said that political parties make announcements of giving gifts for free to woo the voters in their favour. Doing so is an obstacle to free and fair elections and an offence under Sections 171B and 171C of the Indian Penal Code. The petition has demanded that the court issue directions to the Election Commission to add an additional condition for political parties that they will not make announcements of giving gifts for free.
The petition said that nowadays it has become a political fashion that political parties to declare free electricity in their manifestos. These announcements are made even when the government is not able to provide even 16 hours of electricity to the people. It has been said in the petition that free announcements have nothing to do with employment, development, or improvement in agriculture of the people, but such announcements are made to woo the voters.