×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Party manifesto offering financial help to voters doesn't amount to corrupt practice: Supreme Court

Supreme Court said the commitments made by a political party in its manifesto, which eventually lead to direct or indirect financial help to the public, will not amount to corrupt practice.
shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 11:43 IST
Last Updated : 27 May 2024, 11:43 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said the commitments made by a political party in its manifesto, which eventually lead to direct or indirect financial help to the public, will not amount to corrupt practice.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and K V Vishwanathan rejected such a contention made by advocate Balaji Srinivasan on behalf of a voter from Chamarajpet Assembly constituency Shashanka J Sreedhara against Congress candidate and Karnataka Cabinet Minister B A Zameer Ahmed Khan.

The court dismissed an appeal against the Karnataka High Court's order of April 25, 2024.

After hearing the advocates Vishwaditya Sharma, and Lakshmi Rao, also for the appellant, the bench said, "The contention of the learned counsel that the commitments by a political party in its manifesto, which eventually lead to direct or indirect financial help to the public at large, will also amount to corrupt practice by a candidate of that party, is too far-fetched and cannot be accepted." 

In its decision on May 17, the court also said in the facts and circumstances, it need not to go into such question elaborately.

The petitioner sought a direction to declare the 2023 election of Khan to the Assembly seat as void. 

He contended the promises made by the Indian National Congress (INC) party in its manifesto, more particularly, the five guarantees, namely, Gruha Jyothi- 200 units of free electricity to all the houses; Gruha Lakshmi- Rs 2,000 every month to each and every women head of the family; Anna Bhagya 10 kilograms of food grain every person in BPL family per month; Yuva Nidh-Rs 3000 per month for two years to unemployed graduates and Rs1,500 per month for two years to unemployed diploma holders; Shakthi-free travel to all women through out the state in regular KSRTC/BMTC Buses, amounted to corrupt practices.

The plea claimed the freebies offered in the present case were direct monetary benefits, (cash to bribe voters), aimed at a specific demography promised in lieu of their votes (vote buying), and the same is construed as "inducement to bribery". 

Hence, the SC 2013 judgment in S Subramaniam Balaji's Case has little relevance here.

"The decision of this court in Balaji's Case does not lay down correct law. The real test which is to be applied is "what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly. If a promise made by the candidate is hit by the sections of Representation of Peoples Act, such promise shall still be hit by the said section if they are made by his political Party instead of him," it said.

Dealing with the plea, the High Court, however, had said five guarantees of the Indian National Congress have to be considered as social welfare policies. 

"Whether they are financially viable or not is altogether a different aspect. It is for the other parties to show as to how implementation of the said schemes amounts to bankruptcy of the state treasury and it can only lead to malgovernance of the state. It is possible that they can be termed as wrong policies under the given facts and circumstances of the case, but cannot be termed as corrupt practices," the HC had said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 27 May 2024, 11:43 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT