The Supreme Court of India has been approached by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the “freebies” issue, after the Aam Aadmi Party and the Indian National Congress, said that the welfare schemes which are intended to ensure social and economic justice cannot be termed as freebies.
The application was an attempt by the party to implead itself in the PIL filed by former BJP Spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay.
The plea stated that “It is humbly submitted that a welfare scheme providing a free service are introduced with an intent to secure a social order and economic justice under Article 38 to minimise the inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities. In no imaginable reality, it could be construed as a “freebie”.
The plea states that such schemes have been introduced in order to provide the basic necessities which the poor households cannot afford. And thus they cannot be imputed to be luxuries”.
DMK ,the party that has been governing the state of Tamil Nadu said that as free electricity if given can have multi-dimesnional effects”. “Electricity can provide lighting, heating and cooling resulting into a better standard of living.
They connected it with better facilitation for kids in their studies.
To clarify their point they said “A welfare scheme therefore, can have a wide reach and multiple intentions behind its introduction and the cascading effect arising from it cannot be defined in a restrictive meaning as a freebie.”
DMK on it application has also asked as to why only the Union Government and the Election Commission of India have been asked as the respondents by the petitioner in the case when the policies of the state governments were under scrutiny.
The applicants stated that “The Union of India is not the stakeholder in the present proceedings despite the fact that the Writ Petition blames those political parties which have been elected to power in the State Legislature.
It was thus imperative for the petitioner to implead such parties as Respondents. The plea added that the Court should consider the interests of all stakeholders representing diverse regions.
The DMK party added that also said that a welfare scheme introduced by a State Government cannot be judged to be classified as a freebie when the ruling government at the Union gives tax holidays to foreign companies, waiver of bad loans of influential industrialists, granting crucial contracts to favoured conglomerates etc.
The plea said that the Courts cannot have a restrictive approach for classifying any scheme as a “freebie” without considering the magnitude of its effect at both micro and macro level”.
A bench by the Chief Justice of India, said on August 3,2022 that the issue of “freebies” was a serious one, and an expert committee should be constituted to examine the matter.
A committee comprising representatives of the Central and State Governments, opposition political parties, Election Commission of India, Finance Commission, Reserve Bank of India, NIT Aayog etc. should be part of it and the finding and discussion by them can let us come to a correct decision.