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Poll freebies: Supreme Court to hear plea seeking FIR against political parties on Thursday

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The Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition on Thursday, seeking direction to register FIR against political parties, which indulge in distribution of freebies to the voters, so as to induce them during elections.

Advocate Barun Kumar Sinha mentioned the matter on Wednesday before a a Bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli for early hearing.

“Forget about when the elections are over and all that. What will courts do, stop elections? Election bribing is taking place everywhere. We know that. It’s not for a particular state. You have to prove before a court of law,”

-said the CJI.

The plea, filed by Hindu Sena vice president Surjit Singh Yadav, said that he was aggrieved by the offer and promises made by the Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the ongoing assembly elections being held in five states.

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The PIL challenged the offer and promises made by political parties during Assembly elections of freebies to the voters and public, “if their government is voted in power”.

“Disqualify all the members set up by the Indian National Congress, Samajwadi Party in the State of Uttar Pradesh and the candidates set up by the Aam Aadmi Party in the State of Punjab in the Assembly Election, 2022,”

-the plea stated.

It further sought direction to register FIRs against the Congress, SP, BSP and AAP for inducing the voters by making offers of gifts, goods, money from the public exchequer, if they are voted to form the state government in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur respectively for an offence committed under Section 123(1)(A) of Representation of People Act, 1951.

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The plea also said that candidates, who are found offering freebies, may be declared disqualified from contesting the election in that state as this is important for free and fair voting of the candidates of elector’s choice.

The petition further contended that the Election Commission should be directed to evolve a mechanism at the time of filing nominations, declarations to the effect that their political parties on whose symbol, they are contesting elections, have not made any offer and promise of freebies at the cost of public money if they are voted to power.

“If such declarations by the candidates are found wrong, such candidates must be declared disqualified from contesting the election and if elected, such election may be declared void,”

-the plea urged.


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