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Notice to the Election Commission and states over election freebies

Supreme Court's notice to Central Government, Election Commission, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh governments over election freebie

By Aditya Sachan
New Update
freebies in elections

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Central Government, Election Commission, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh governments over announcements and schemes of freebies to attract voters before assembly elections. The bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud sought a reply in four weeks.

The court issued it while hearing a public petition and combined the new PIL (public interest litigation) with other ongoing petitions. Now, the court will hear all the cases together. In January 2022, BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay reached the Supreme Court over the matter of freebies. In his petition, he pleads to ban the practice of freebies and schemes by political parties during election time and requests that the election commission dismiss the registration of parties if they do so.

The Central agreed with the plea of Ashwini Upadhyay and appealed to the Supreme Court to describe the definition of freebies. Central said if the practice of freebies continues, then there will be a financial crisis in the future.

Freebie culture is dangerous for the development of a nation. We should have to take down this culture politically.

PM Modi on freebies

Giving free education and health facilities is not part of freebies. We are laying the foundation of a glorious and developed India. 

Arvind Kejriwal on freebies

Election Commission on Freebies

On August 11, during a hearing, the election commission told the Supreme Court that it is not in the power of the commission to regulate policies the parties adopt as freebies during or after elections. Only the court should decide which are free schemes and which are not; afterwards, the election commission will implement them.

History of Freebies in India

The history of freebies by political parties dates back 70 years. In Madras State, the former Chief Minister Kamraj launched a scheme to give free education and food items to the school’s students from 1954 to 1963. In 1967, DMK founder CN Annadurai vowed to provide rice at a lower price. In 1982, MG Ramchandranan implemented the same scheme as ex-CM Kamraj to give free food to the school’s students. In 1980, the leader of AIADMK, J Jayalalithaa promised to give free sarees, a pressure cooker, a television, and a washing machine. In 2015, the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) announced to give free electricity and free water supply in Delhi, which resulted in winning the election and leader Arvind Kejriwal taking the oath as Chief Minister. In April 2022, the BJP announced the launch of the AAP scheme to provide free electricity and water supply in Himachal Pradesh.

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