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SC issues notice to Centre, EC over freebies by political parties

Many political parties are providing freebies on the eve of elections to cast huge financial burden on exchequer of states, already under severe debt burden.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Union Of India (UOI) and the Election Commission (EC), after hearing a PIL seeking a direction to curb on mindless freebies announced by political parties on the eve of elections to cast huge financial burden on the exchequer of states, which are already under severe debt.

A three-Judge Bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Nuthalapati Venkata and also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hima Kohli, passed the order on a petition filed by lawyer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

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After hearing the petition of Upadhyay, the Supreme Court also asked the Centre and the ECI as to what steps they contemplate to regulate freebies promised during electioneering.

Justice Ramana led bench of the Supreme Court referred to earlier judgment of the Apex Court, scoffing at freebies, even while terming these as no corrupt electoral practices.

The Petitioner, Upadhyay, had over the Supreme Court seeking its appropriate direction and order to seize the election symbols and deregister political parties that promised to distribute irrational freebies, including cash, from public funds.

Senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Vikas Singh, appeared for the petitioner, Upadhyay and informed the Supreme Court that many political parties are providing freebies on the eve of elections to cast huge financial burden on exchequer of states, already under severe debt burden.

Thereby the Supreme Court should pass appropriate directions and orders to curb on such kind of illegal and mindless freebies announced by political parties on the eve of elections, Singh informed the Supreme Court during the course of the hearing.

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