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HC Dismisses PIL To Declare Cash Transfers In Election Manifestos Corrupt

The petition said the success of a democracy rests on an honest government which is elected through a free and fair election bereft of corrupt practices

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL to declare the offer of cash transfer in election manifestos of political parties as a corrupt poll practice.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla rejected the plea, and said a detailed order will follow later on.

We find no merit in the petition. We, therefore, dismiss the writ petition, the bench said.

The court was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by two advocates -- Parashar Narayan Sharma and Capt Gurvinder Singh -- whose counsel contended that offering of cash without any work in election manifestos has to be declared illegal.

The high court had earlier questioned the Election Commission as to why it was shying away from taking action against political parties who were in violation of its guidelines on corrupt practices and sought its response on a PIL.

The remarks by the bench had come after the counsel for the poll panel said that it has already issued guidelines in relation to corrupt practices and sent the same to the political parties.

The court had earlier issued notice and sought the Centre's response on the petition, which said such note for vote promises are in violation of Section 123 of the Representation of Peoples Act which deals with corrupt practices and bribery.

The bench had also sought the stand of two political parties -- the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) -- as the petition said that INC and TDP in the 2019 general election offered cash to certain section of the society. The INC (announced) the Nyuntam aay Yogyna -- NYAY scheme and offered to put Rs 72,000 (yearly).

The petitioner's counsel had said, In Covid, funds were put in accounts of people. (But) it was an extraordinary situation. If political parties start the trend of giving money not against any work, our industries, agriculture will finish.

The petition said the success of a democracy rests on an honest government which is elected through a free and fair election bereft of corrupt practices.

It contended that a spike in practices offering cash as freebies would be a deathblow to the foundation of democracy" and cast a pall of gloom over free universal franchise.

The petition alleged that in spite of the existence of such practices, the Election Commission for reasons best known to them have adopted a stony silence.

(PTI)


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