Assembly elections 2022: SC warns Centre, EC against ‘promise of freebies' during polls

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Assembly elections 2022: SC warns Centre, EC against ‘promise of freebies’ during polls
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Just a few weeks ahead of the assembly elections in five states across the country, the Supreme Court has issued an important notice to the Centre and the Election Commission, asking them to make sure that there is no “promise of freebies” to the public before the polls.

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The Supreme Court has said that the promise of freebies was a serious issue, as several political parties have promised free commodities and services to the residents of poll-bound states to sway the votes ahead of the assembly elections.

A Supreme Court bench Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli conducted a hearing for the PIL filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay in this regard. The bench sought a response from the Centre and EC in four weeks.

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According to India Today reports, CJI NV Ramana, during the hearing, said, “I want to know how to control this legally. Can this be done during these elections? It has to be for the next election. It’s a serious issue. The freebies budget goes beyond the regular budget.”

Further, the plea filed by Ashwini Upadhyay states that there should be a total ban on such populist measures to gain undue political favour from voters as they violate the Constitution and the ECI should take suitable deterrent measures.

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The plea filed by the BJP leader also seeks a direction to seize the election symbol and de-register the political party that participates in offering irrational freebies to the public ahead of the assembly elections to sway the votes of the people.

Upadhyay’s plea further added, “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.” This plea comes just a few weeks ahead of the assembly elections in five states in the country.

Assembly polls are set to take place in five states- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur, Goa, and Uttarakhand- in the next few weeks. The elections are set to commence from February 2022, and the counting of the votes will be done on March 10. 

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