SC to hear Muthalik's plea against Cong manifesto

SC to hear Muthalik's plea against Cong manifesto

The Supreme Court would consider on Thursday a plea made by the Rashtriya Hindu Sena chief Pramod Muthalik for direction to the Congress party to delete the “appeal to vote on religious basis” made in its manifesto for the state polls.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud agreed to hear on May 10 the writ petition on an oral mentioning made by advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain on behalf of Muthalik.

In his petition, he contended that the Congress party, in its manifesto released on April 27, has violated Section 123 (3) of the Representation of People Act, incurring disqualification of its candidates.

He sought a direction to the Election Commission to “ensure that Indian National Congress deletes the appeal to vote on religious basis made under the heading 'social justice - strengthening the social fabric for smooth progress' in the election manifesto. Muthalik claimed that Congress had made an appeal to Muslims and other minority voters to exercise their franchise in favour of their party by alluring them to several schemes on the basis of their religion only.

The manifesto's promise clearly flouted and disobeyed the dictum issued by a seven-judge bench in its decision on January 2, 2017, in the case of Abhiram Singh that there could not be an appeal to voters on the basis of religion, his petition contended.