India Legal Bureau
The Supreme Court on Monday (January 23) dismissed a PIL requesting the postponement of the Union Budget— brought forward this year and scheduled for February 1—to after elections across five states that start on February 4.
The three-judge bench of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justices NV Ramana and DY Chandrachud concluded that since this was a union budget and the issue was related to the assembly elections, the positioning of the Budget would unlikely affect the polls.
The PIL was submitted by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma.
While delivering the order, Chief Justice Khehar said: “State is state… Central budget is very different from state. It has nothing to do with the state election.”
At this point, the bench asked Sharma to give an example from any earlier Budget where the electorate was influenced by its positioning just before the election process began.
Justice Khehar said: “I will tell you… (as an example) one state is having election in March no budget in March, then another state having election in April, so no budget in April… So this goes on, and in August one governor says this government is going and the president says this government is not working so let’s have presidential rule…”
Sharma said in his defence: “As per general clauses act… financial year is from April 1.”
The court, however, cut in, saying: “It (the Centre) has to present it before the financial year.”
According to the court, there was no case made out and the petition was therefore dismissed.
Lead picture: Supreme Court of India; Photo: Bhavana Gaur