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Supreme Court asks Centre on ways to control ‘freebies’ to influence voters

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Supreme Court asks Centre on ways to control ‘freebies’ to influence voters

Recently, the Supreme Court has asked the government to stop the announcements of giving freebies during elections.

The Supreme Court has directed the Center to ask the Finance Commission to consider the possibility of stopping the announcements of freebies.

The Finance Commission to find out whether there is any way to prevent political parties from declaring irrational freebies and distributing it during election campaigns.

The court said that the Finance Commission is an independent body to make recommendations on finance. The Finance Commission can estimate the debt burden of each state. Through this he can check whether it is practical for that state to make such a declaration.

Free gift giving announcements are actually election promises. Under this, political parties announce or distribute them in an irrational manner. Presently, it is difficult to regulate such declarations in the absence of regulations/laws.

Negative effects of announcing free freebies –

  • It invites financial crisis and drives the states to bankruptcy.
  • It undermines the service delivery system of local government
  • It puts a heavy burden on the state exchequer.
  • Benefits the ruling political party.

Steps taken to check the announcement of freebies by the Election Commission –

  • Subramaniam Balaji v State of Tamil Nadu (2013) case: Supreme Court finds the laws insufficient to deal with it. The Court ordered the Election Commission to prepare guidelines after consultation with political parties to examine such election announcements.
  • Guidelines examining the declaration of free gifts were included in Part VIII of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the year 2016. This step will ensure the integrity of the election process.

Source – The Hindu

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