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Today Date : Thursday, May 23, 2024

Election Freebies case to 3 Judge bench referred

Election Freebies case to 3 Judge bench referred

 The Supreme Court on Friday referred the petitions filed demanding a ban on election freebies to a three-judge bench before adjourning it.The direction was given while hearing a petition filed by former BJP Delhi spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay seeking the court to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) to not permit political parties to promise freebies during election campaigns.

Hearing the petitions related to election freebies, a three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said that looking at the complexity of the issue involved in the issue and the prayer to overrule the judgement given by two-judge bench, the court direct listing of these petitions before a three-judge bench for further hearing.

In 2013, while hearing similar petitions, a two-judge bench presided by 
S Subramaniam Balaji said, “State distributing largesse in the form of distribution of colour TVs, laptops etc to eligible and deserving persons is directly related to the directive principles of the state policy.”The court also said that there are “certain preliminary issues that may need to be deliberated upon and decided in the present set of petitions…” and listed these as “What is the scope of judicial intervention with respect to the relief sought in the present batch of petitions? Whether any enforceable order can be passed by this court in this writ petition? Whether the appointment of the commission/expert body by the court would serve any purpose in this matter? and What should be the scope and composition and powers of this body?”
In the last hearing of the matter, the court had asked the union government why it cannot call for an all party meeting to discuss the issues related to election freebies and determine who could possibly head a committee constituted to determine the issue of freebies.

Earlier, the CJI had hinted the constitution of an expert commission including stakeholders like Finance Commission of India, Election Commission of India Reserve Bank of India, Niti Ayog and political parties to study the issue after noting that distribution of freebies was a serious issue and stressed on the need to maintain a balance between welfare and economy.

Political parties like AAP, DMK and Congress have intervened in the matter by saying that freebies must be distinguished from welfare measures for the poor and the downtrodden.Meanwhile, the court has decided to live-stream its proceedings before the CJI’s bench. This is the first time the court proceedings are live-streamed ever since the 2018 verdict which granted approval for the same.

The proceedings before the ceremonial bench of the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on his last working day as a Supreme Court judge will be live-streamed in the link - website per custom, the outgoing Chief Justice of India shares a bench with the next Chief Justice of India on the last working day. The members of the bar express their farewell on the last working day before the ceremonial bench. Today, CJI Ramana will share the bench with CJI-designate Justice UU Lalit and Justice Hima Kohli.