HC notice to EC on plea seeking to declare cash transfer as corrupt poll practice

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Representative Image

New Delhi [India], September 15 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and others in a plea seeking to declare cash transfer or promises by political parties in election manifestos as corrupt practice under Section 123 of Representation of People Act, 19

The bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh sought the response of the Union of India, Election Commission of India, Indian National Congress (INC) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and slated the matter for September 24, 2021.

The Bench also asked the Election Commission what action had they taken on false offers and promises made by political parties during the election. Despite knowing that there are categorical directions by Supreme Court and your guidelines, you people are sitting tight, further added the bench.

The petitioners Parashar Narayan Sharma and Capt. Gurvinder Singh the Advocate Amardeep Maini stated that the offer of transfer of cash by way or in the guise of freebies in election manifestos is a corrupt electoral practice under section 123 of Representation of People Act, 1951 as well as the guidelines framed by the ECI as part of its Model Code of Conduct pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Court of India.

The plea also stated that election manifestos promising transfer of cash not by way of goods to be distributed for free or at a subsidized rate or in pursuance of any scheme which would provide an opportunity to earn in exchange for physical labour or any kind of productivity being unknown to Directive Principles of State Policy is ultra vires the Constitution of India

The plea stated that, after the declaration of the dates of the Lok Sabha Elections of 2019 by the Election Commission of India, Indian National Congress Party (INC) notified its election manifesto where it promised payment of Rs.72,000/ to five crore poor families without any labour, work or productivity under Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY). Similarly, the Telegu Desam Party (TDP) of Andhra Pradesh too, offered to dole out illegal gratification of Rs. 2 lakh per annum to every poor family in their manifesto.

"The said promises, popularly called 'Note for Vote' is clearly in violation of Section 123 of the Representation of Peoples' Act 1951 which describes what constitute 'Corrupt Practices and 'bribery'," the plea said.

"The negative impact of these corrupt practices cannot be ignored by any patriotic Indian. If freebies, particularly, wanton cash benefits are allowed to be offered as part of electoral promises, the vast majority of the electorate would be swayed away from the dignity of labour and consequently, the economy, industry and agriculture of the nation will be destroyed completely," the plea stated. (ANI)

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