Cash transfer, freebies on eve of polls come under Supreme Court scanner
The Apex Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre, a few State Governments' and the Election Commission seeking its response on the money transfers made by the various governments ahead of the general elections.
New Delhi: The Apex Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre, a few State Governments' and the Election Commission seeking its response on the money transfers made by the various governments ahead of the general elections.
Admitting the writ petition of Jana Sena leader, Pentapati Pulla Rao, who contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Elluru constituency in Andhra Pradesh as a candidate of the Pawan Kalyan-led Janasena Party, Chief Justice Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Karnataka, and the Centre to explain the money transfers.
The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose, decided to look into the plea seeking framing of comprehensive guidelines on freebies, Direct Cash Transfer Schemes and others.
Arguing the case on behalf of his client, Advocate, Sravan Kumar, stated that these State Governments used tax payers' money to lure the voters by large-scale money transfers to women, farmers and youth and others, in the form of various doles and also promised to keep up the transfers after the elections too.
Speaking to the media later, Pulla Rao said campaigning for the rivals became very difficult in the face of the transfers. Such transfers were tantamount to bribes, he said. Either the Centre's Kisan Samman or transfer in the name of 'Pasupu Kumkuma' NTR Bharosa and Mukhya Mantri Yuva Nestam were all malpractices that were used with an intent to impact the election results, he said.
Pulla Rao, an economist by profession, said all such schemes should be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Article 14, 21, 112, 202 of the Constitution.
He also referred to the apex court's 2013 judgment in Subramanium versus State of Tamil Nadu in which there was a direction for the Election Commission to frame guidelines for regulating grant of freebies by government on the eve of elections to ensure free, fair and level playing field.