SC junks publicity interest litigation on freebies to votes by parties

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 3/4/2022 4:16:46 PM

NEW DELHI, Mar 03: A Supreme Court Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, on Thursday junked a public interest litigation (PIL) by Hindu Sena vice-president Surjit Singh Yadav, seeking to disqualify candidates of various political parties in the current Uttar Pradesh and Punjab Assembly elections for wooing the voters with freebies.
The issue of the freebies is, however, not shut since the same Bench is already seized of another PIL by Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for seizure of poll symbols and registration of the political parties, which promise or distribute freebies using public funds before the elections.
The Bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli made Yadav's counsel withdraw the petition, after the Court refused him liberty to file a fresh petition. "What liberty? This is a PIL," the CJI said.
The petition had sought disqualification of all candidates of Congress and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and the candidates of Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab for offering freebies to voters if elected to power since it amounts to corrupt practice and bribery in terms of provisions of Section 123 (1)(b) of the Representations of People Act, 1951.
"We all three think this is a PIL with motivated publicity agenda and with a hidden agenda. We should impose costs," the CJI remarked.
Upadhyay's petition also sought directions to the Centre to enact a law on the freebies. The Bench issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission on his PIL on January 25, saying that he has raised a serious issue.



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