Offering freebies either before or after election is policy decision of the party concerned: ECI to SC

Offering freebies either before or after election is policy decision of the party concerned: ECI to SC

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has told the Supreme Court that offering any freebies either before or after the election is a policy decision of the party concerned and whether such policies are financially viable or its adverse affect on the economic health of the State is a question that has to be considered and decided by the voters of the State.


“It is also stated that offering/distribution of any freebies either before or after the election is a policy decision of the party concerned and whether such policies are financially viable or its adverse effect on the economic health of the State is a question that has to be considered and decided by the voters of the State,” the EC said in its affidavit. The Election Commission of India also submitted that it cannot regulate state policies and decisions which may be taken by the winning party when they form the government.


“Such an action, without enabling provisions in the law, would be an overreach of powers, ” EC said.


EC has filed its reply to a petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.


Petitioner lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in his plea has sought direction from the Centre and Election Commission of India to take steps to regulate political parties and to make them accountable for essential rational manifesto promises.
Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has also sought direction from the Election Commission to seize the election symbol and deregister/derecognize the political parties, which fail to fulfill their essential rational promises, made in the election manifesto.

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EC has cited a top court judgment and said that it is observed that the Election Commission of India has no power to de-register a political party, except on three grounds. EC submitted that seizing election symbol/deregistering the political party which promises or distributes irrational freebies from the public fund, does not fall under any of the three exceptions. (ANI)

first published:April 9, 2022, 2:10 p.m.

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