Apex court hears a PIL against goodies on election night

In anticipation of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in India, the Supreme Court decided on Wednesday to consider a petition against the practice of political parties offering gifts on election eve. The case is scheduled to be heard on March 21.

This is crucial. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud informed senior attorney Vijay Hansaria, who was representing PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, that “we will keep this on board tomorrow.” Upadhyay insisted that the case needed to be addressed before the elections.

The PIL has requested that the EC use its authority to suspend electoral symbols and revoke political parties’ registrations that give unreasonable freebies.

There are 56 recognized political parties at the state level and eight recognized national political parties. There are 2,800 registered political parties in the nation that are not yet officially recognized.

According to Upadhyay, populist policies that seek excessive political favor from voters should be completely outlawed since they are unconstitutional, and the EC should take appropriate deterrent action.

Additionally, it asked the court to rule that the offer of illogical gifts from public monies before to elections taints the integrity of the electoral process, distorts the level playing field, and unfairly affects voters.

The appeal stated: “Petitioner submits that the spirit of the Constitution is injured as well as the greatest threat to the survival of democratic values as a result of political parties’ recent trend of influencing voters with freebies in mind of elections.”

It said, “This unethical practice must be avoided to preserve democratic principles and practices. It is akin to giving bribes to the electorate at the expense of the exchequer to stay in power.”

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