Delhi ( New Delhi)

Election freebies: Supreme Court refers the matter to a three-judge bench

The Supreme Court on Friday referred petitions seeking a ban on gifts distributed by political parties before elections to a three-judge bench, which it said in the apex court case in S Subramaniam Balaji v State of Tamil Nadu. Will pray for reconsideration of the 2013 judgment of the court.

The 2013 judgment held that such promises of gifts cannot be termed corrupt practices.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana observed that some of the parties had submitted that “the logic in the above judgment is erroneous as it has not considered various provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951”.

“It was also submitted that the judge misinterpreted that the Directive Principles of State Policy could override the Fundamental Rights under Part III of the Constitution, which were decided by the Constitution Bench of this Court in the 1980 judgment at Minerva Mills. Ltd. v. Union of India, it said.

“Given the complexity of the issues involved, and pray for setting aside the judgment delivered by a two-judge Bench of this Court in S Subramaniam Balaji… Hon’ble Chief Justice of India,” the Bench, comprising Justices Hima Kohli and C T Ravikumar Also included.

Hearing a petition filed by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who sought a ban on the promise of freebies by political parties in the run-up to elections, the court had initially mulled setting up a committee to go into the issue and make recommendations.

The bench said, “Initially, to initiate discussion about the issues highlighted, we thought that it may be appropriate to constitute an expert body to prepare a report or white paper which may suggest the way forward. ” Following this, there were applications for intervention by some parties, who argued that “not all promises can be combined with freebies as they pertain to welfare schemes or measures for the public”, it said.

The bench observed that “at the same time, the concern raised by the petitioners that under the guise of election promises, financial responsibility is being abated”.

Considering various arguments, it said in its Friday order, “Ultimately, it appears to us that a comprehensive hearing is required on the issues raised by the parties before passing any substantive order”.

The bench observed that “some preliminary issues may need to be discussed and decided in the present set of petitions… What is the scope of judicial intervention concerning the relief sought in the present batch of petitions? … Whether any enforceable order can be passed by this Court on these petitions?… Will the appointment of the Commission/Expert body by the Court serve any purpose in this matter?… Scope, composition and powers of the said Commission/Expert body What should happen?”

A two-judge bench in the Subramaniam Balaji case had held that “the state’s distribution in the form of distribution of colour TVs, laptops, etc. to deserving and deserving persons is directly related to the Directive Principles of State Policy” and warrants no intervention of the court.

In the 2006 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, the DMK promised free colour TV sets to all households that did not have them if elected to power. DMK won the election and a provision of Rs 750 crore was made in the budget to implement the promise. In the 2011 assembly elections, the ruling DMK announced more freebies.

The opposition AIADMK-led coalition also announced free grinders, mixers, electric fans and laptop computers. AIADMK won the election and took steps to fulfill the promise. Subramaniam Balaji challenged these plans in court.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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