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Canvassing votes by promising freebies a serious issue: Supreme Court notice to Centre, Election Commission

The plea cited the following examples from the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections:

1. Aam Aadmi Party promised ₹1,000 per month to every woman aged 18;

2. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) promised ₹2000 to each woman to lure them.

3. Thereafter Congress not only promised ₹2000 per month and 8 gas cylinders per year to every house wife but also promised a Scooty to every collage going girl, ₹20,000 after passing 12th class, ₹15,000 after passing 10th class, ₹10,000 after passing 8th class and ₹5,000 after passing 5th

4. For UP Assembly elections, Congress promised a smartphone to every girl studying in Class 12, a Scooty to every girl pursuing graduation, free public transport for women, eight free gas cylinders per year to every housewife, free medical treatment up to ₹10 lakh per family

Distribution of money and promise of freebies has reached alarming levels, the petitioner contended.

“If the integrity of electoral process is compromised then the notion of representation becomes vacuous,” the plea said.

Upadhyay has also prayed for directions to declare that promise/ distribution of irrational freebies from the public fund before election to lure voters is violative of Articles 14, 162, 266(3) and 282 of the Constitution and analogous to the ‘bribery and undue influence’ under Sections 171B and 171C of the IPC.

The petitioner also prayed for directions to ECI to insert an additional condition in Paras 6A, 6B and 6C of the Election Symbols Order 1968 mandating that “political party shall not promise/distribute irrational freebies from the public fund before election”.

Source: Barandbench

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