Supreme Court returns pleas challenging gifts to 3-judge bench; indicates the complexity of the problem

In a key development on Friday, the Supreme Court returned the motion challenging the gifts to a three-judge bench after considering the complexity of the issue. A bench headed by CJI NV Ramana was hearing the writ petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay. The petitioner asked for an instruction to seize the symbol or deregister a political party that promises or distributes “irrational gifts” ahead of the election. To begin with, the CJI has made it clear that the real power in an electoral democracy rests with the electorate who judge political parties and candidates.

However, the SC held that “the issues raised by the parties require a thorough hearing. Some preliminary hearings must be determined, such as the scope of judicial intervention, if the appointment of the expert body by the court serves something”. The case will go to hearing after 4 weeks.

Welcoming the landmark SC order, Ashwini Upadhyay said, “The SC has said that there is a need to maintain a balance between the economy and social protection schemes. It is necessary to differentiate between social protection schemes and gifts. verdict in which he declared that the manifesto promises did not constitute a corrupt practice. Because we said if it is a corrupt practice to distribute Rs.2000 before the election, it is also a corrupt practice to promise Rs.2000 in the manifesto.”

He added: “The case will be heard after 4 weeks, i.e. in September. The larger court will first decide on the extent of judicial intervention. It will also decide on the role of others, of the difference between freebies and welfare schemes and what can be done for the economic impact assessment. The larger bench of the SC will also decide on the composition of the committee.”

“The voter has the right to make an informed choice”

During the hearings, the Supreme Court observed that the idea of ​​de-recognizing political parties for promising to give irrational gifts was “undemocratic”. However, he has considered forming a committee to prepare a white paper on this issue and whether a multi-party meeting can be called. On August 23, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that voters have the right to make an informed choice.

Appearing for the Centre, the SG argued: “Firstly, no one can question the responsibility of a party. The difficulty arises when a party distributes saris, a party gives away television sets. Some complaints from voters. A petition has been filed in Delhi HC that CM had made a promise and be instructed to keep it. Under such circumstances, will the court remain a mere spectator?”

Sharon D. Cole