“We find no merit in the motion. We therefore deny the motion in short,” the bench said.
The court was hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by two lawyers – Parashar Narayan Sharma and Capt Gurvinder Singh – whose lawyers argued that offering money without any work in election manifestos should be declared illegal.
The High Court had previously questioned the Electoral Commission on why it was reluctant to take action against political parties that breached its guidelines on corrupt practices and asked for its response on a PIL.
The bench’s remarks came after the polling committee’s lawyer said he had already issued guidelines regarding “corrupt practices” and sent them to political parties.
The court had previously issued an opinion and requested the Centre’s response to the petition, which stated that such “note for the vote” promises violated Section 123 of the Representation of Peoples Act which deals with corrupt practices and bribes.
The bench had also solicited the position of two political parties – the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) – as the petition stated that the INC and the TDP in the 2019 general election had offered support. money to certain sections of society. INC (announced) Nyuntam aay Yogyna — NYAY program and offered to put Rs 72,000 (per year).
The petitioner’s lawyer had said: “In Covid, funds were placed in people’s accounts. (But) it was an extraordinary situation. If political parties start the trend of giving money without any work, our industries, agriculture, will end.”
The petition indicates that the success of a democracy depends on an honest government that is elected through free and fair elections, free from corrupt practices.
He argued that a spike in practices offering money as “gifts” would be a “mortal blow to the foundation of democracy” and would “throw a pall of sadness” over the free universal franchise.
The petition alleged that despite the existence of such practices, the Electoral Commission “for reasons best known to it, has adopted a stony silence”.