Culture of freebies during polls is a serious issue, says CJI

Culture of freebies during polls is a serious issue, says CJI

New Delhi: Culture of promising freebies during elections is “a very serious issue,” said Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and asked the Central Government to do something to put a curb on it. He made the statement during the hearing of a plea seeking a directive for the Election Commission not to allow political parties to promise or distribute freebies, for which public money is spent.

The advocate who appeared on behalf of the EC informed the court that there are rules in the Model Code of Conduct in connection with freebies and poll promises. Nevertheless, it is the government that will make a law to bank such practice, he said.

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EC lawyer also said that there are SC judgements which say that the poll manifesto is not a promise. Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj also said the issue would have to be considered by the EC.

Justice Ramana said to Natraj, “What don’t you put it in writing that we have no authority; let ECI take a call. I am asking whether the government of India believes this is a serious issue. You take a stand, then we will decide if freebies can be continued or not.” A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing the case.