The Central Government was requested by the Supreme Court on Tuesday to express a position about the necessity to regulate political parties’ announcements of giveaways during election campaigns. The amount of freebies and the state’s debt can both be taken into account by the Finance Commission when allocating funds to different states. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal had argued that “the Centre cannot be expected to give orders.” Beginning with the affidavit dated April 10, 2022, Advocate Amit Sharma, who was representing the Election Commission of India, argued that the Commission cannot regulate state policies and decisions that the winning party may make when they form the government and that giving away anything before or after the election is a party policy decision.
He further asserted that the Election Commission of India worked with recognised political parties to develop the Model Code of Conduct rules. In addition, HSharma said that since legislation has to be executed, the Central Government would be in a better position to address the court. Speaking on behalf of the Central Government, ASG KM Nataraj argued that only the ECI should handle these matters. If you have an opinion, let us know, and we’ll determine whether or not to keep offering these perks.
The petitioner, Advocate Ashiwini Upadhyay, described the situation as “serious,” and said that ECI should forbid the state and national political parties from making such donations. Additionally, he said that the Commission ought to impose more requirements before it recognises a party as a state or national political party. CJI requested ASG to follow directions regarding whether the Finance Commission might be enlisted to provide suggestions regarding how to limit the distribution of freebies after taking into account the arguments presented by Senior Counsel. « The Central Government and ECI were asked to respond by the bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on January 25, 2022. The petition had requested that the Court rule that:
- Promise of irrational freebies from public fund before election unduly influences voters, disturbs level playing field, shakes roots of free-fair election and vitiates purity of election process.
- Promise/distribution of private goods/services, which are not for public purposes, from public funds before election, violate Articles 14, 162, 266(3) and 282 of the Constitution
- Promise/distribution of irrational freebies from the public fund before election to lure voters is analogous to Bribery and Undue Influence under S.171C of the IPC.