New Delhi: A PIP has been filed in the Supreme Court asserting that the promise or distribution of irrational gifts using public funds before the polls undermines the roots of free and fair elections and vitiates the purity of the entire electoral process.
The plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay asked the highest court to declare that the promise of irrational gifts, which are not for public purposes, from public funds before the elections violates articles 14, 162, 266 ( 3) and 282 of the Constitution. .
The plea argued that promises by political parties to win over voters to their favor are analogous to corruption and undue influence.
The plea cited that in Punjab, Aam Aadmi Party had promised Rs 1,000 per month to every woman aged 18 and above, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had promised Rs 2,000 to every woman, while the Congress had also promised 2,000 rupees a month and eight bottles of gas a year to each housewife.
The alleged argument that the backbone of democracy is the electoral process and that if the integrity of the electoral process is compromised, the notion of representation becomes meaningless.
“The distribution of money and the promise of gifts have reached alarming levels with elections being repeatedly canceled. In this scenario, the danger to the system of parliamentary democracy and the Indian Republic cannot be denied,” added advocacy.
The plea pointed out that Punjab needed Rs 12,000 crore per month to fulfill political promises if the AAP came to power, Rs 25,000 crore per month if the SAD came to power and Rs 30,000 crore if Congress comes to power.
The petitioner added that the state GST collection is only Rs 1,400 crore.
The plea claimed, “Actually, after repayment of debt, the Punjab government is unable to pay even salaries and pensions, so how will it provide gifts? The bitter truth is that Punjab’s debt is growing every year. Outstanding government debt has risen to Rs 77,000 crore, of which Rs 30,000 crore is accumulating in the current financial year itself.